Beacon supply partner, Total Produce share their top tips on fresh produce for the month of June. Are you making the most of these trends on your menu?
Guest article: Total Produce Stone fruit:
Yellow peaches and nectarines coming from Spanish crops are especially good this month, with cherries from Spain also great. The UK will begin supplying home grown cherries later in the month.
Spanish apricots have been a real surprise this month and apricots in general will continue to get better and sweeter, but those around now would certainly have a place on your dessert menu. Melons:
It’s always a joy to see the start of the European melon season. Galia, Honeydew, Watermelons and various orange fleshed, Cantaloupe style varieties are all in season. Quality is good and prices are eminently sensible. No doubt this will continue all through the summer making melons an absolute menu must.
We’re seeing a very few, very early French Charentais but prices are high and they’re not yet fully ripe. We recommend Best hang on till late July and August when French Charentais are at their most delicious (and cheapest). Berries:
Strawberries are in plentiful supply amongst UK growers despite the unsettled weather. Expect a bumper crop with excellent flavour as the unusually sunny winter has really pushed up sugar content (or Brix Levels as they’re known in costermonger circles).
We’re also seeing the first of the UK raspberries, always a little later than strawberries, and a few very early gooseberries. No doubt supplies of both will increase substantially as we move further into the month. Worth mentioning that the gooseberry season happily coincides with the appearance of Elderflowers, surely one of the great culinary combos. Salads:
Lettuce is in great supply for summer months with round or butter lettuce, cos, gem and iceberg being the perfect addition to your summer menu. Alongside these are the rather more ‘continental’ varieties such as oakleaf, lollo rosso and batvia.
There’s plenty of very good home-grown cucumbers and spring onions and some sparkling bunched radish, both regular round and the long, white tipped breakfast variety.
Watercress is bang in season right now and still bringing that same gloriously peppery punch to our plates.
The Great British Tomato revival continues unabated with very fine tomatoes coming in from growers right across the country. Encouragingly many of our growers are choosing to grow varieties selected for flavour rather than volume. As well as regular round salad tomatoes there’s an ever expanding range of more unusual fruit giving us a wide choice of colour, shape, size and flavour
Have you heard of the Scape? Something new and really rather thrilling in the garlic world. Garlic Scapes grown in Dorset by Mark Botwright at The South West Garlic Farm. Scapes are the stem and flower bud of the garlic plant. They’ve been widely used in South East Asia for hundreds of years and at last they’re catching on over here. The season is very short, they’ll be over by the end of the month, so don’t miss out.
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