Fruit & Vegetable Market Report [JAN]

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03/01/2017 - 08:42

What food trends might we expect in 2017? Weirder predictions include blue-algae coffee and flours made from pulverised insects. Surer bets are authentic dumplings, proper tacos and more starring roles for humble veg.

Whatever the outcome, traders at the Market can focus on what they do best: sourcing tip top fresh produce.

Forced rhubarb is now in full flow, fresh from the forcing sheds near Wakefield in Yorkshire. (For more detail on this ingredient, see my Product Profile from 2015.)

Forced rhubarb at New Covent Garden Fruit and Vegetable Market – January 2017

In my opinion, we should be shouting louder about the health benefits of this neon-pink wonder – forced rhubarb is packed with polyphenols and oxalic acid, which helps to cleanse and detoxify the body. Forced rhubarb is available from traders such as H G Walker and P & I.

Other British produce in its prime include the brassicas: sprouts and tops, purple sprouting, kales and cabbages, such as January King and the Savoy in second picture below.

Sprouts at New Covent Garden Fruit and Vegetable Market – January 2017

Savoy cabbage at New Covent Garden Fruit and Vegetable Market – January 2017

Flower sprouts – a cross between kale and Brussel sprouts – are your on-trend choice, available from wholesalers such as P & I. (For more info see here).

Flower sprouts at New Covent Garden Fruit and Vegetable Market – January 2017

Other homegrown produce includes excellent roots such as parsnips, turnips and swedes. British-grown Jerusalem artichokes (try S Thorogood) are also worth a shout.

Don’t forget pears and apples, including Comice, Conference, russets, Gala, Cox and Braeburn.

Comice pears at New Covent Garden Fruit and Vegetable Market – January 2017

Italy is sending the first of the blood oranges – the focus of my next Product Profile later this month. These are available from a wide range of traders on the market.

Other citrus are Seville oranges (short season – act fast), clementines (late season Nadorcotts now coming on stream), lemons and Navel oranges – often from Spain.

More specialist Continental lines are available from traders such as European Salad Company or The French Garden. Agretti (a.k.a. monks’ beard), for example, has just started.

Agretti at New Covent Garden Fruit and Vegetable Market – January 2017

Radicchio and other chicories are also in full swing. It’s the amazing Tardivo and Rosa in the pictures below. (For more info see the Product Profiles here and here).

Tardivo at New Covent Garden Fruit and Vegetable Market – January 2017

Rosa radicchio at New Covent Garden Fruit and Vegetable Market – January 2017

You may also find batches of broad beans from the south of Italy, where temperatures now suit these cool-climate crops.

Broad beans at New Covent Garden Fruit and Vegetable Market – January 2017

Other Continental lines include baby veg, purple caulis, artichokes, kohlrabi, celeriac, spinach, fennel, sand carrots and more. Here’s a buyer with some of the lovely rose garlic from Lautrec.

Rose garlic at New Covent Garden Fruit and Vegetable Market – January 2017

On the exotic front, I couldn’t resist a picture of this unusual variety of pitaya (a.k.a. Dragon’s Fruit) at Gilgrove.

Pitahaya at New Covent Garden Fruit and Vegetable Market – January 2017

Other fruits worth considering are quince, kaki fruit, pomegranates, kiwis, kumquats and lychees.

Also expect plenty of grapes and stone fruit – mainly peaches and nectarines - from South Africa.

See you in February and do get in touch with any comments and queries. I'm always keen to help. 

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hi - just a quick email to

hi - just a quick email to ask if there were any good mangoes about?

Yes - lots! They are

Yes - lots! They are generally from Brazil and thereabouts I believe. Traders such as Gilgrove / French Garden / Worldwide Exotics / Premier Fruits and many more can supply - give them a ring if you can't go down in person. Thank you, Tom