Summer is here, with glorious evidence: the munching of toast al fresco. After months of nippy dawns, I love this moment. Traders and customers breakfast outside, as London is yet to wake.
British salads are getting into their stride after a tricky wet spring. Many traders offer a range of local lettuce including romaine and frisée, alongside spinach, chard and wild rocket.
Asparagus is readily available, growing swiftly in the heat. Raspberries are now native, and English strawberries also star alongside rivals from abroad, often Belgium.
Neil Brown Herbs is on top form, boasting a wide range of English-grown herbs and leafy veg, including red watercress, flowering choi sum, pak choi, pea shoots and violas. Also locally grown microgreens, including Thai basil and samphire.
Terrific courgettes, peas and broad beans are from southern Europe, although English will follow in due course. Everyday peppers, tomatoes and aubergines are typically Dutch.
For a fruity highlight, Spanish cherries are plentiful; the French early Burlat variety can also be found. Melons are typically also from Spain; apples from the Southern Hemisphere.
French Garden offer treats such as green garlic from Provence, yellow French beans, Globe artichokes, pricey wild asparagus, yellow and green round courgettes and English wild garlic.
T & L, the Italians, feature carcioffini (mini artichokes), agretti, the last blood oranges, tomatoes (including San Marzano) and cedro – an unusual relative of the lemon, whose skin and pith is typically used in risottos and cakes.
It’s been hungry work, prowling the market. So I’m off to join the others outside for tea and two toast with Marmite.