Market Report Sponsored by Oakleaf European Newsletter # 26

The Staff Canteen


Kindly supplied by Oakleaf European

An exciting new take on Live from Rungis

Products to look out for

Edible flowers, peas in pod, Tulamine raspberry, baby spinach, wild roquette, kiwi, courgette, blood oranges.

Fruit and Mushroom

The good news in this issue really must start with baby vegetables that are slowly, but surely getting towards normal. Supplies remain short but there is a light at the end of the "˜winter' tunnel. Coloured baby beetroot is proving popular with Chioggia (candy stripe) leading the way from the White. Garlic leaves and now a few garlic flowers, along with a growing selection of French edible flowers are the other highlights from the baby section. Morel is the mushroom of the moment with Mousseron St George not far away. Unfortunately, due to the high temperatures in Turkey, morel of quality is proving a little hard to get hold of and the French is not a viable alternative at over £150 per kilo! Fruit has seen the start of the stone fruit season with the first Moroccan peach. These smaller calibre fruits are from the young trees that are only five years old but we are promised larger from next week as it will be coming from old trees. Orange flesh Charentais melon from Morocco is pretty sweet now so hopefully we will see the prices come down a little and the demand go up! I don't think there is such a need for the air-freighted melon now. Citrus remains strong but use the blood oranges now as they will finish in the next couple of weeks.

Vegetable and Salad

Back again! After a five month break, our baby leaf grower from Fontainebleau has started his new campaign this week. Only 45 minutes separate him from Rungis which obviously allow us flexibility and freshness. We will offer all his extensive baby leaf range - which is pretty large - and this year we have decided to keep the mesclun Japonais on the list too as it has proved so popular throughout the winter months and contains a different mix to the other mesclun. Meanwhile the market is absolutely bursting with asparagus, in particular the white, which is coming from everywhere. The good news in this case is that with more volume comes more value. Even artichokes are now coming down in price. Again the offer is quite wide but our favourites are the baby violet bunches, the green Calico and the purple Salambo all coming from Spain. It's now the best time of the year for using French naked cucumber as they are beautiful, deep green, firm and refreshing. The Spanish ridge cucumbers are great too. Our tomato price list is now only made up of French and Italian product. Products that deserve a special mention are the Datterino for sweetness, the Merinda for a surprisingly exotic flavour, the cherry vine Rubis for the visual aspect and the flavour too. The San Marzano are good too. New to the market this week are bunches of young mooli from the South of France.


The Ibérico pig is native and exclusive to the Iberian Peninsula and raised freely in a unique ecosystem known as the Dehesa. These are extensive Mediterranean woodlands abundant in Cork and Holm Oaks whose fruit, the acorn "Bellota", along with the fresh aromatic grasses, is the staple diet of the Ibérico pig. Because of its genetics, and its enormous size, 160-180kg (350-400 pounds), and its long, relatively free, life make it a unique animal in the world. The Ibérico pig is a unique species being the last remaining free-grazing breed in Europe. It is an exceptional animal, perfectly adapted to its natural habitat, the Dehesa. It is distinguished by long, thin, sturdy legs, pointy snout, and relatively dark hairless skin. During its adaptive process, the Ibérico pig developed a genetic ability to store large fatty deposits that became part of its muscle mass and created the characteristic white streaks that give the ham its incomparable marbleised texture and aroma. The Ibérico pig is bred in the wild and is fed on natural products found in the Dehesa. Such is its quality of life that it is known as the "aristocrat" of the world's porcine species. Initially the piglet is fed on its mother's milk, after which it feeds on grass, seeds, bulbs and grain. After about a year the pig has reached its optimum weight to reap the maximum benefit from the resources of the Dehesa during the "montanera" or fattening period. Acorns, fruit of both the holm oak and cork tree, are the basis of the Ibérico pig's diet, although it also feeds on the pastures, stubble and wild leguminous, making a decisive contribution to the ecological balance of its natural habitat. The dehesa is also an extremely important reserve for plants such as thyme or rosemary and a wide variety of mushrooms. It is an exceptional habitat that provides a natural and balanced diet to the Ibérico pig. Ibérico ham is a completely natural food, which is rich in proteins, and contains vitamins and minerals including vitamin B1, iron, zinc and magnesium. The quality of the fat contained in Ibérico ham is excellent, consisting primarily of unsaturated fatty acids, and in particular, oleic acid, representing over 50% of the fat content. This makes this natural and healthy product an excellent choice, which consumed in moderation, can help to maintain the correct level of cholesterol. We have recently seen numerous cuts of fresh Ibérico Pork arriving on the market, with some positive feedback from Chefs we have today included some racks on a promo price for you to enjoy(see French Meat price list).

With Easter just around the corner

Easter is on its way and we have a massive range of top quality Chocolate from all over the world to suit all tastes and demands, whether it be Valrhona, Weiss or even Cocoa Barry we have it all see the chocolate section on the patisserie list.

Featured Fruit Products

I talked about these in Live from Rungis but as pineapples are still tricky - Victoria in particular as most is coming Mauritius - it is worth pointing out that bottle, (or sugar loaf) is very good and cayenne  also. As the European apple season comes to a close it is lovely to find some great quality fruit coming out of store. These are Braeburn but we have also tasted some good Rubinette. A poor picture that does no justice at all to the first Tulamine raspberry from Portugal. Distinct shape and a sweet flavour makes this variety a real winner. Gariguette strawberries are improving with each week. Cheaper, poorly graded fruit with little flavour is around too but our careful selecting ensures you are getting the best that is available.

Featured Vegetable Products

French cucumber benefit from not being wrapped so you can immediately enjoy the aroma before cutting into the juicy flesh.  Rainbow Radish - A fun product that graced some interesting dishes last year. They will be on the list from next week. The first Pineapple Tomato from Morf. One of a growing range of specialist varieties we offer for colour and flavour. Nettles - picked young in the spring but heat to destroy the sting. Can be served very simply just by steaming and serving with butter and lemon.

Special points of interest

  • Quail are good value at the moment
  • Anjou pigeon
  • Herbs in pots - growing herbs in pots from Provence and now no need to pre-order
  • Alsace bacon - as commented on on our Twitter page!
  • We can supply chocolate eggs in a full range of sizes from mini up to several kilos each!
  • Following on from two weeks ago, other dairy products are rising in price too.
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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 31st March 2011

Market Report Sponsored by Oakleaf European Newsletter # 26