Market Report - August

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Fresh from Rungis:

Our buyer Nick says: "Despite some weeks where temperatures have neared 40°C in northern France, only the most fragile summer produce has been affected until now. Spinach ran into some difficulties but is currently back on track. Other salads, baby salads and Spanish frisée are all good quality as ever. The French dandelion leaf, pissenlit, is currently at its annual difficult-to-find stage, but watercress is back from its flowering season and looking good."

"Leafy celeriac has just started and should be available until October/November time and the wonderfully flavoured, smoked and plaited garlic is now available. We have Ratte potatoes from Israel. There are some French just starting but they are very small and loose in 5kg boxes. The new season 1kg bags will be back soon."

"Good apples are now coming from the southern hemisphere, so are more expensive, but the French stone fruit and melons are fabulous. We're buying peaches, flat peaches and nectarines from Le Canard des Clairettes grown near the Camargue. These are sweet, flavoursome and juicy - supply is stable and prices reasonable."

"We also have blood peaches from Corsica and pêches de vigne or vine peaches (with an almondy flavour)-  a bit like the nectavignes, but peaches. Melons from Charentais and surrounds are excellent, with their sweet, perfumed, orange flesh. Black Muscat grapes have just started, with lovely flavour and pretty bright green stalks, but Prima are still available and for now cheaper than the Muscat. French white grapes haven't appeared on the market yet but should be available soon. Moissac, where the Chasselas grapes originate from, are producing the fresh cob nuts in the photo."

"French black figs have now finished but new crop coming through patchily. Fraises des bois suffered in the searing heat and so are now very difficult to come by and Garguettes are also tricky, but there is a new variety which is available, the Mariguette (a cross between Mara des bois and Gariguette) - these strawberries have the pointy, heart shape of the Gariguette and the ruby red colour of the mara with a delicious flavour between the two."

Fresh from Milan:

Our buyer Tess says: "Italy is in need of a lot of rain,  particularly in the south. The knock on effect on produce has been shorter seasons and the heat damage of crops. Availability of spinach, herbs, some tomatoes and aubergines has gone up and down with the temperature. The beautiful stone fruits are holding their own. Watermelons just seem to be getting bigger and bigger each week as are the pumpkins. There is a wide variety of beans about now, the black harricot, taccole, the bright borlotti, white piattoni, snake beans, and most recently the purple speckled pelandroni from Piedmont."

"Varieties of plums are doing well at the moment, subject to good temperature control! The drago or dragon plums (also called watermelon plums) - green outside and red inside - have been popular. They are tailing off and the similar tasty satsuma variety is taking its place, along with the vignola variety. The baby white merendelle nectarines have been tasty and are still going strong. Grape season is well underway and we have seen the first strawberry grape arrive in the market - delicious! The tomatoes are still going particularly all varieties of cuore di bue (beef heart), other varieties are becoming scarce now as production finishes in the south."

ESC Direct:

This is our special order wholesale service. Our buyer Gaelle says: "Even Brittany has suffered with the heat over the last few weeks, which means that crops such as baby chokes, colored carrots, beetroots, romanesco, colored caulia, artichokes have been occasionally short. More volumes are expected in the next two weeks, as well as new season Jerusalem chokes, leeks and coco de Paimpol. New season banana shallots have just started this week."

"From the south of France, juicy Guyot pears have just started and will be available till mid October. Vourgettes are still available in smaller volumes. Muscade squash are now in full season, and the butternut have also started. Bergeron apricot are almost end of season, but the faralia is still going. Sweet potatoes from USA are going to be replaced by Egypt, with a first arrival on the 8th August, while the Spanish are not expected until September."

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. Here's some of the new season smoked garlic from France - fantastic flavour and super long shelf life, too.