Market Report - UK seasonal update 4 March 2014

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 4th March 2014

IN ASSOCIATION WITH

In association with

Hello All,  A nice mild start to the year has brought spring crops on early. Nothing which can’t be scuppered by a cold snap I’m afraid.  As much as we love many of the still present roots, fruits and shoots which got us through the Winter, menus should surely be turning from ooze and sooth to crunch and zing by now. Here’s a summary of some recent seasonal additions and cusping crops.  Wild Mushrooms It’s all about new season small morels from Turkey. Prices are now low enough for us to buy in abundance, but have further to drop as the holy hand grenades of the mushroom world flush.turkish-morels I’m showing my age now, but I remember eating a noisette of spring lamb garnished with sprue asparagus and tiny morels in Marco Pierre White’s Oak Rooms many moons ago and thinking “what can be nicer than this?”. That was before the prune and Armagnac soufflé turned up.  Girolles, chanterellle (jaune & gris) and pied de mouton are still coming from Portugal.  Truffles Both Italian & Perigord winter truffles are excellent as they reach the closing month or so of their seasons. Unripe summer truffles are being offered, but you’d get more nose and marbling from a black radish. This showing however is a reassuring sign as it looks like we will avoid any gaps in fresh truffle supply this year.  Fruit & Vegasparagus Our time on this planet is too precious for me to fill space regurgitating spiel on blood oranges or comice asparagus.pears. On the fruit side we are buying weekly boxes of gariguette strawberries from the South of France to check for sugar levels. When they are good we will sell them. In a similar vein we’ll be testing the water with early datterino and coeur de pigeon tomatoes until they hit what we see as entry level.  Vegetable seasonal progress is more advanced than for their fruity cousins. White asparagus is excellent from the South of France. As you can see from the tweet below, green asparagus is now cropping in the sheltered Wye Valley. We need a week or so of mild weather before every bunch doesn’t result in a goal mouth scramble for availability, and I get to enjoy my seasonal treat of duck eggs, pata negra ham and English asparagus.  Jersey royal potatoes are cropping steadily and prices will plummet when the outdoor grown spuds kick in. Wet garlic is excellent from Egypt, and we will make the switch to France as soon as prudent. Monks beard from Italy is providing an elegant saline foil for fish dishes. The UK foraging scene is at a delightful stage. Sea beet, three cornered garlic, sea pursalane & alexanders are all strong. We will wait for the versatile wild garlic crop to mature for one more week before harvesting.  Due to unprecedented demand I am including from this week’s update an “ambient corner” slot to showcase the diversity of our non seasonal range. Here goes. Ambient Corner Wild Harvest have been happy to sell Forum Vinegars for well over a decade now.wet garlic The chardonnay & cabernet sauvignon varieties are produced in the same way in a famous wine growing area of Catalonia. For some ageing in oak barrels is enough, but the people at Cellers Puig & Rocain in El Vendrell knock of any hint of a rough edge by adding unfermented grape juice to the previous years wine. This results in a fruity balanced acidity which in my own crude terms could be described as sweet and sour. I sometimes neck a shot as if it was chilled vodka.  In the Spring a fuller crimson comes upon the robin's breast; In the Spring the wanton lapwing gets himself another crest;   In the Spring a livelier iris changes on the burnish'd dove; In the Spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.  As usual, this is just a smattering of what we have on offer. Call in on 020 7498 5397 to speak to the team about what other treats we have in store for you today. Have a great week.

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 4th March 2014

Market Report - UK seasonal update 4 March 2014

IN ASSOCIATION WITH