While other companies may shiver at the start of autumn, this is big month for ESC. Over in France, it's peak time - from chestnuts to the best figs you'll ever taste. Nick Griffin, our buyer, even likes to forage for wild mushrooms himself when he's got a spare moment.
Over in Italy, October is the month when their produce really sings on our stand in London. Our buyer Tessa will be scouring Milan market for everything from Zucca squashes to puntarelle. From the sunny south of Italy growers are still sending top notch tomatoes, aubergines and more.
Foodies will be thrilled, too, with the citrus stories. We've spotted Kaffir limes, fresh citron caviar, Cedro and more. All are available either on the stand or by special order. To keep in the loop, follow us on Twitter.
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Fresh from Rungis
"More autumnal chestnuts, squashes, and roots," says our buyer Nick on his mobile, as a taxi driver whizzes him through Paris. Classic lines include sand carrots, Romanesco and a wide range of salads and baby veg. Quince and top class figs are available. We can offer gorgeous garlic and shallots, including the longest strings of garlic we've ever seen - a good 1.5m long. Crosnes, a.k.a. Chinese artichokes, are due towards the end of the month. Recent dry weather have held back flushes of French wild mushrooms. Note that it's the last fling for nectarines, peach and plums, including Mirabelle.
Fresh from Milan
The first clementines are going down a storm. These are untreated, with flashes as green - just as they should be. (In Italy, they would find our obsession with a orange colour most bizarre). It goes without saying that we are importing a wide range of tomatoes, aubergines and courgettes. There are borlotti beans, too, plus the leafy greens such as puntarelle, cime di rapa and chicoria. Interesting citrus include the Cedro, a rare citrus with a thick pith that is highly prized by the discerning pastry chef. We're also big fans of the prickly pear from Sicily. For something niche, how about the giuggiole, which is the second picture below. This is also known as the Chinese red date - a rare fruit that's a first - even for us!
Brik pastry is one of these lines. If you're not familiar with the product, this is a very thin pastry especially popular in countries such as Tunisia and Morocco. Each pack contains 10 sheets, with a long shelf life. The pastry is highly versatile. One classic preparation is to fold it around an egg and fry until crispy. This makes for an unusual brunch dish. In Tunisia, this is often done with tuna, onion, parsley and spicy harissa. The pastry can also be rolled into cigars and deep fried for canapes, for instance with a chorizo, sweet potato or feta cheese stuffing.
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EUROPEAN SALAD COMPANY, UNIT C53-54, NEW COVENT GARDEN MARKET, LONDON, SW8 5BH TEL: 020 7720 7758 ORDERS@EUROSALAD.CO.UK