Total Produce March Market Report – What’s in Season This Month

Charlie HIcks

March is a month of change. Salad supplies start to shift from Spain to Holland and a few early apples and pears arrive from the Southern hemisphere. The first tunnel grown Jersey Royals are in the markets along with the first wet garlic from Egypt.

Spanish produce, so important during the winter, is slowly winding down as the Dutch season gets under way. There’ll be more and more peppers, tomatoes, aubergines and cucumbers from Holland as Spanish supplies come to an end. We may even see a few very early British cucumbers and salads by the end of the month. Dutch tomato growing has really changed in the past few years with a real focus on flavour rather than just growing for volume. New technologies, varieties and attitudes have all contributed making Dutch tomatoes some of the most delicious on the market.

JerseysJerseys and Other Spuds
The first Jersey Royals are here. These early spuds are tunnel grown so they’re not cheap but prices will drop quite considerably when we move on to the outdoor crop, usually that’s in late April. If you’re looking for more bang for your bucks potato-wise then you might consider the Majorcan new potatoes that have just started. Great flavour, proper flaky skins and a very sensible price.

The other big potato news this month is the fabulous Cyprus spud. With its distinctive oval shape and red, soil stained skin the Cyprus is a remarkably versatile potato that can do just about anything. It’ll roast, mash, puree, chip, bake and boil. It also has an excellent flavour. Not the cheapest potato you’ll ever buy but certainly one of the best.

MineolasCitrus
European Citrus is still in cracking form. There’s still plenty of late season Nadorcott clementines from Morocco and Spain which are all absolutely tip top, full of juice and a wonderful avour.

Spain have just started sending us some very good Mineolas, a late season easy peel variety.

Blood oranges should be around for at least another month. We’re particularly impressed with the Sanguinello variety from Spain. Excellent deep colour and a very good avour. Blood oranges are usually past their best by early to mid April, something you might want to consider when writing new menus.

Garlic Wet EgyptGarlic
An excellent month for garlic lovers. Wild garlic or Ransoms is in abundance, de nitely a key menu item for March.

The first of this year’s wet or green garlic has started arriving from growers in Egypt. These glorious bulbs have none of the throat catching acridity of dried garlic and an amazing aroma that will ll your kitchen. Cooked, particularly roasted, they have a wonderful sweetness that dried garlic can never match.

Asparagus Wye Valley (2)Asparagus
Those very clever chaps at Wye Valley are harvesting some very early English asparagus, they cut the first of it in late January which is frankly amazing. However supplies are very limited and sporadic at best. If you’re thinking about using it please do check availability first. You should also check the price which is inevitably fairly steep. Aspargus growth is completely dependent on temperature, cold weather means it just won’t grow. We don’t expect to see regular supplies of British asparagus until early April, it all depends on the weather.

Artichokes Spanish Baby Violet 02 18.42.40Other Season Produce
There’s some terrific new season artichokes arriving from Spain. Smaller violets (duck egg size) and larger Calico.

Supplies of peas and broad beans from Spain have improved slightly but are still fairly dear.

Strawberries and raspberries from Spain are surprisingly impressive. New varieties mean much better flavour.

Cauliflower supplies are very limited and prices are unseasonably high. Warm weather before Christmas caused a glut and, inevitably, a glut is followed by a shortage. Best avoided for the moment.

British cavolo nero is over. It’s all imported now, mostly Spain and Italy.

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