Market Report - November


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Fresh from Rungis:

Our buyer Nick says: "Beautiful salads and blette are now coming from the south of France in plentiful supply and at stable prices. Our French spinach and celery is all still coming from the north and Italian will be starting early in November. Artichokes have become very scarce as there are very few left coming from Brittany so we're looking forward to Spanish starting soon. Good quality radishes are still being produced in northern France: black-skinned plus the red, green and blue flesh varieties from Brittany. The availability of purple and orange cauliflowers is a bit erratic at the moment, but topinambourgs (Jerusalem artichokes) have become cheaper and are of great quality. Ratte potatoes from Le Touquet are also excellent and reasonably priced. The garlic disease "fusariose" which is baffling farmers not just in Tarn but all over Europe and America, has meant that there will be a shortage on the pink Lautrec garlic this season which will undoubtedly have an impact on price."

"The annual chillies festival took place on Sunday 29th October in Espelette so their strings of dried chillies are now abundant. Tomatoes coming up from Provence have now finished, but there are lots of cepes and other fresh, wild mushrooms in Rungis from France and Europe. French apples and pears are  wonderfully plentiful in an array of varieties and not expensive. There are French finger limes and fresh Yuzu in Rungis. Not as many chestnuts in their spiky cases now, but lots available shelled, glossy and gigantic. We are buying the lovely 'Tout Miel' Spanish leafy clementines, as sweet as their name sounds. French red fruit are still about including the Tulameen raspberries and mixed panaché boxes. Charentais melons from Morocco will start in November."

Fresh from Milan:

Our buyer Tess says: "Produce is coming on nicely with a full array of greens (spinach, punterella, chima di rappe  etc.) in full swing now, and with some new additions towards the end of the month; long stemmed artichokes, Thema artichokes, and finally spikey artichokes, along with Cardi or Cardoon - celery on steroids! Actually a member of the artichoke family, it is quite tasty when you know what to do with it!"

"In the fruit season we currently have kaki (persimmon), pomegranates and prickly pears. Decana and Abate pears have started; also the citrus with delicious leafy oranges, navels, and clems coming on. As temperatures go down, more production returns back to the south from the north. For example, Camone Marinda tomatoes and production for San Mazzano. Over the next month we hope to see more of the little cicories, rose trevisse, pink raddichio, and the wonderful mammole artichokes done in big bundles or even a tower! And fingers crossed for some Barba di frappa (Monks Beard)."

ESC Direct

Our buyer Gaelle is available on +33 789 866 675. She says: " It's been a roller coaster season in Brittany for globe artichokes: prices have been extremely high, volumes low; and there is already a gap until the Spanish season starts in December. French root veg is in full season with a few tasty new lines such as Chinese artichokes, yakon and nasturtium Tuberose."

"Shallots, Romanesco and Savoy are in full season. Coloured cauliflowers are shorter but shall be available up to Christmas. French and Portuguese Muscade squashes are still available. Banana shallots are very well priced. The quality of leeks and cauliflower is excellent. From Morocco volumes have been smaller than expected in most items such as green beans, coco beans, kapya peppers, chilies and tomatoes. We are hoping for more volumes from next week, when some new lines are also expected to start such as beef tomatoes and courgettes."

"From Spain the winter lines are all ready for export: peppers, aubergines, broccoli, courgettes, cucumbers... Cauli and chokes will appear a bit later and we are waiting on the heritage tomatoes season to start by the end of the month, although the French are available and price has been stable and reasonable for a while now. From Egypt, potatoes and sweet potatoes are expected to be abundant."

Special Orders:

We also import a wide range of quality dried, tinned and dairy goods including cheeseyoghurtoilsolivesspicesBoiron fruit purees and more. See here for extra info. It's chestnut season and we sell both fresh, Ponthier vacuum-packed and the puree in tins. These yoghurts - with fruit coulis at the bottom of the glass jars - are absolutely terrific. (Try the raspberry flavour!)