Market Report 26.4.19

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Peeled Garlic

Don’t forget that ESC also imports peeled garlic direct from China, vacuum-sealed in one kilo packs.


This week saw summer temperatures in the UK and across Italy so it’s looking good for the start of stone fruit. The first of the new apricots have arrived in Milan along with delicious new season cherries. The melon season is also underway with smooth skinned honeymoon and rough skinned retato melons about more this week. The tomatoes are also changing season with the start of Ligurian beef heart: it is a bio production specifically grown with herbs to attract the bees and other pollinators. Oranges are now into the later varieties: late Moro and Tarocco Ippolito are still red inside as is the new season, delicious big Navels. Looking forward to seeing ruby Apricots starting, red basil, lemon verbena, and new season Costaluto.
— Tess, our Italian buyer (07766 654732 /

Tess also recommends: artichokes, peas, broadbeans, bruscandoli, Castelfranco, Tardivo, Cime di rapa, Candonga strawberries, Abate pears, San Mazzano, Marinda, agretti, basil, courgette flowers, Tokyo turnips, Rainbow chard, cedro.


I want to give a shout out to the humble spud and in particular a couple of varieties.

NOIRMOUTIER POTATOES: named after the French island in the Atlantic on which they’re grown. The potatoes thrive in the mild climate and salty air. They grow in sandy earth, enriched by seaweed, which is where they get their unique flavour. Only 100 tonnes are produced each year, compared to 30-40,000 tonnes of Jersey Royals that cross thee Channel each year!

ILE DE RE POTATOES: another spud from a small island and the only potato with AOC status. Harvested before reaching full maturity to keep their tasty starchiness, their subtle marine taste is said to be down to the sandy soil and seaweed fertiliser. These first ones, called pomme de terre primeur de l’Ile de Ré, are particularly prized – from early April to the end of June. Boil, top with butter and sprinkle on local salt. Or top with cheese - or caviar for something more extravagant.

BERRIES: a terrific time for berries in Rungis, better than the offering of Lidl rejects in Covent Garden. Gariguette and Mara des Bois Strawberries are in full swing. Gariguette in closed or open punnets, MDB in open. Both stunning. Berries from outstanding grower Panach are tip-top: Spanish Fraises de Bois that are really good value, or French ones that are the real deal. French giant blueberries in open punnets also worth a look.

STONE FRUIT: Cherry season has started, available in baskets. Worth it if you have customers with deep pockets. Supplies can get interrupted should it rain heavily. Apricots are now available, to order only for now. White peaches and nectarines from France are in, but sporadic in availability, good size AA fruit.

ARTICHOKES: Globe currently from Spain - excellent quality and good value. Large Calico available to order. Bunch baby artichokes just switched from Spanish to French supply.
— Andy, our French buyer (07810 504512 /

Andy also recommends: asparagus (white also available in 500g bundles - ideal for retail), wet garlic, Saveur de Chailly tomatoes, Spanish Blue Raf tomatoes, Moscatel grapes (from South America - intensely sweet, an ideal dessert grape and great for cheeseboards), Charentais melons (currently from Spain - excellent value).