You know autumn is creeping in when the first squashes hit the market:
Expect a riot of colours, shapes, sizes. September also tempts us with homegrown plums, damsons, greengages, apples, sweetcorn, cobnuts and much more, besides...
Plums are a definite highlight. "The quality is very good," explains Tony Frankham of Newmafruit in Kent. (For more info, see our Grower Profile).
"Opals were coming off a touch lighter than our forecasts," he says. "But Victoria and Jubilee have come off a lot heavier." Marjorie's Seedlings, a later variety, are next in line.
As I write, Discovery apples are the main English variety. Bramleys and the first Conference pears are available, too. (You'll also find Belgian pears). Next up for apples are the Early Windsor and Worcester varieties.
Fresh Kentish cobnuts and smaller filiberts are at their crunchy, milky best. French chestnuts are a spiky option, too:
Soft fruit – particularly blackberries are blueberries – are excellent. Gooseberries are over, but you'll still find the last British currants.
For stone fruit, nectarines and peaches - mainly from Spain - are now slowly winding down:
Melons remain a wise buy. You may spot the last of the English cherries. Small volumes of rhubarb are arriving, too.
For veg, English sweetcorn is cheap and abundant. Brassicas are in fine fettle, including Hispi cabbage, spring greens, purple sprouting and green and purple kohl rabi.
Check out these colourful kales from the Molyneux Kale Company, for sale at Gilgrove:
Runner beans, peas, broad beans and Bobby beans are still on hand:
English marrows, spring onions, leeks and tomatoes, are also on good form:
English herbs and salads are high quality, including terrific watercress:
"We go right through winter if the weather permits it," says Mervyn Smith of Stoke Valley Watercress. He explains that growers aim to pick 5 to 7 crops from each plant.
For Continental specialties, expect artichokes, aubergines, courgettes, chillies, and more. Wild mushrooms include girolle, cep, mousseron, and pied de mouton.
See you again in chilly October. In the meantime, feel free to get in touch with any comments or queries.