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.)
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.
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.
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.
You may also find batches of broad beans from the south of Italy, where temperatures now suit these cool-climate crops.
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.
On the exotic front, I couldn’t resist a picture of this unusual variety of pitaya (a.k.a. Dragon’s Fruit) at Gilgrove.
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.