Market Report 15.3.19

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Highlight this week? Bit of a niche one - bruscandoli, a.k.a. wild hops. This is an amazing ingredient that we source from Italy, where bruscandoli is highly prized. You can also find it growing here in the UK - we picked some last year growing in Kentish hedgerows. These tips of the hop plant are lovely in a risotto and pasta dishes, or simply lightly cooked and served as a side dish.


We had a bit of a weather wobble over the past week, with lots of snow in the mountains and some lower areas, but then it’s swung the other way and we are now looking at low 20C’s by the weekend! The produce seems to be holding up with new season bruscandoli (wild hops) and fine red asparagus (asparagina), and Italian white asparagus has started. It’s a delicious time with full-on asparagus, strawberries, amazing citrus and tomatoes. If the temperature stays up it will help the first soft fruits which won’t be far off in the next month. Looking forward to the first appearance of the Italian white Bassano asparagus, highly prized and only grown in one place. About a fortnight left on some of the radicchios, such as Castelfranco and rosa.”
— Tess, our Italian buyer (07766 654732 /

Tess also recommends: peas, broadbeans, nettles, borage, agretti, basil, courgette flowers, green Marindas, puntarelle, cime di rapa, Tropea onions, Delica squash, La Costiera lemons, Rainbow chard.


Not many changes to report. Two products that are everywhere are Gariguettes and asparagus.

The popular lidded Saveol mark of Gariguette are on the market - price as you’d expect at start of the season. Also available are open punnets, 1 kilo trays and 1.8 kilo trays of Label Rouge for catering.

White asparagus is plentiful, either the violet tipped ‘Les Landes’ variety, grown in the sand of the Landes de Gascogne, or the ‘normal’ white from Provence. Green asparagus from Provence also available.

For the brave amongst you there’s Pertuis Asparagus, beloved of chefs chasing Michelin stars. This is a green asparagus from the sandy soils in the Provence and harvested on the edge of the Luberon mountains in the village of Pertuis. Locally, the asparagus is only seen as a perfect if one third of the spear is green and one third is still white.”
— Andy, our French buyer (07810 504512 /

Andy also recommends: giant blueberry, rainbow radish, first of the Noirmoutier potatoes, Tulameen raspberries at a very good price, blue tomatoes, French kiwi.


In France, cauliflower volumes are stable and prices low. (English cauli also available and very cheap). Leeks from Brittany end next week. Banana shallot price has increased as expected due to low volumes but quality is excellent. Romanesco from Brittany is back in volumes and accessible in price. French heritage are also available and affordable. Tomatoes are available at auction but much more expensive than Spanish and Moroccan. Jerusalem artichokes and roots vegetables are all available at similar price.

From Spain, cauli is still available and cheap but struggling to compete with French and English. Romanesco is back but much more expensive than the French. The red Spanish Palermo is still short this week and the price is strong. Courgettes are available and great quality - the price has been going down all week. Strawberries are available, prices are going down daily. Spanish chilies 3kg are not available at the moment.

From Morocco, courgettes are now replaced by the Spanish. Red chilies are suffering a big gap currently. The green are also in lower volumes and both prices are high. White and red kapya are also suffering a gap. Sweet potatoes from USA are fabulous quality but short in volumes and prices increasing.
— Gaelle, ESC Direct (+33 789 866 675 /