Welcome to 2024 - and another year of exceptional produce at the Market.
January is far from a dull month on Buyer's Walk. Citrus is in its prime. Below are some Chocolate Oranges, a variety grown in southern Spain. Other citrus includes clementines, Amalfi lemons, leafy oranges, bergamot, cedro, finger limes and more.
Blood oranges have started to appear but wait a while for the colour to deepen. It's been a mild winter in Sicily and Valencia and the crop needs cold nights in order to blush. Seville oranges will be along early this month for their short season - about three weeks.
Closer to home, UK apples and pears are still eating beautifully out of store. The photo below shows a tray of Kentish Cox. But please don't forget pears such as Comice, which are sensational when allowed to ripen up a few days before eating.
This is also a good time for lychees, kaki fruit and quince. For something more unusual - and spikey - how about these Durians? An acquired taste, I'm told.
The season for Yorkshire forced rhubarb is now underway and will run until early spring. The flavour of the crop will improve towards the end of January, when the best eating varieties come to the fore.
On the veg front, January is always an excellent month for fennel which is crisp and full of flavour. All the root crops are available - from heritage carrots and Jerusalem artichokes to oca and parsley root. Celeriac is worth a special mention.
Winter tomato varieties include Marinda, Raf and Camone.
Brassicas are a mainstay at this time of year. This is a shot of purple cauliflowers, now grown very successfully in the UK.
And the ever-photogenic Romanesco.
Here are some stunning Savoy, pictured below. Other cabbage varieties include January King, Hispi, Savoy and Spring Greens. It's also a good month for kales.
Squashes are still abundant - with a wide variety of colours, sizes and varieties.
Artichokes are a good call - mainly from Spain and Italy. Below is the Petit Violet variety.
Bitter leaves include cime di rapa, puntarelle and all the radicchios - this is Tardivo. Agretti (a.k.a. monk's beard) is also in season, grown in the Veneto region of Italy.
See you in February for our next Market Report.