A terrific time for home grown produce and there’s some glorious summer fruit from mainland Europe. Not so cheery for supplies from the southern hemisphere though and dairy news is positively bleak.DOWNLOAD THE PDF VERSION OF THE REPORT HERE
Apricots, plums, peaches and nectarines (round and flat) from Spain, Italy and France are flooding in. All are excellent value but the exchange rate means they’re not quite as cheap as in years gone by.
The big stone fruit news this month is the start of the British cherry season. British cherries have undergone a real renaissance in recent years.
The introduction of poly tunnels which protect fruit from the rain and dwarf root stock, shorter trees mean easier harvesting, have given us a consistent supply of high quality fruit.
The British cherry season is not long, usually finishing in early August, so get your skates on.
A few very early British plums are trickling in but not in any quantity. It’ll be at least another month before they really get going.
Always a joy to welcome back that quintessential British summer vegetable, the runner bean. An absolute menu must at this time of year.
This is the last full month of home-grown peas and broad beans, they’ll finish up in early August.
There’s some very fine young bunched carrots and beetroots from growers across the UK. So called ‘Heritage’ varieties mean a veritable rainbow of roots that look fabulous on the plate.
Petit violet artichokes from Brittany are still excellent value.
The first corncobs are coming in from Spain. British cobs should be ready by early August, weather depending.
There’s lots of UK courgettes, always excellent value when they’re in full flow.
There’s a terrific range of melons coming in from mainland Europe, mostly Spain. Although not quite as cheap as in previous years – the weak pound – they are still very good value. There’s Galia, Honeydew, Watermelons and a variety of orange fleshed Cantaloupe types.
There’s also some excellent Piel De Sapo melons. These are Spain’s favourite melons but are sadly almost unknown over here. Perhaps it’s the name which translates as ‘Toad-skin’. These white fleshed melons are juicy and sweet with a fine flavour and we think they deserve a wider audience.
There are reasonable supplies of French Charentais but it’ll be next month before they’re at their least expensive.
Arguably July is the best month of the year for British soft fruit. It’s mid season for strawberries and raspberries but do watch out for lack of continuity between varieties and problems caused by unusually high temperatures.
There’s still a few gooseberries about, green and red varieties, but they’ll be finishing up very soon.
It’s shaping up to be a particularly good season for British currants, both black and red. They’re not around for long so make the most of them.
The British blueberry season started at the beginning of July and should run on until late September/early October.
Dairy prices have been rising for most of this year and this looks set to continue. Milk, butter, cream and, inevitably, cheese prices will probably carry on climbing till at least the end of the year. There is even talk of potential butter and cream shortages at Christmas.
There seem to be three main reasons for this
A couple of years back there was a global over supply of dairy. Prices fell and suppliers cut back production or went out of business leading to current shortages.
Recent evidence that butter is nowhere near as bad for us as previously thought has driven a massive increase in consumer demand.
The weak pound has made it more profitable to sell British dairy produce abroad.
If you’re not signed up to your local depot’s email list then we would recommend that you do so you can be kept up to date with all the latest news, dairy and otherwise.
At this time of the year most of our citrus and top fruit – lemons, oranges, grapefruit, apples and pears – are from growers in the Southern Hemisphere.
Never cheap at the best of times, all this produce is costing even more than usual this year.
The weak pound and increased demand from emerging markets like China, India and Russia are driving prices ever upwards, use with caution.
British Runner Beans
Spanish Peaches and Nectarines
British Bunched Veg