The month of May marks the proper start of the British growing season, when every week brings a new arrival.
Asparagus is plentiful, while the first strawberries and salads are now rolling in. The Spanish season has also shifted to Dutch for many of our staples.
Expect strawberries from Belgium, the Netherlands and the first batches from local growers. All other soft fruit imported. Homegrown raspberries, currants and gooseberries will be here from next month.
South Africa is still the main sender of stone fruit. The first nectarines are now over from Spain, but these are on the hard side.
Mangoes remain a good call. British outdoor rhubarb is reasonably priced, too. Grapes are from Chile and South Africa. Apples are mainly New Zealand or South Africa, with some decent Granny Smith from Italy. Blood oranges are over.
Prices are reasonable for Jersey Royals. Asparagus is steadily dropping in cost. Peas and broad beans are typically Italian and now abundant. We’ve also spotted the first courgette flowers.
The first British salads have made a splash on the market, including spinach and iceberg lettuce. Most herbs are still imported, although homegrown mint is an exception.
Tomatoes are improving every day, including mixed boxes of British from Nutbourne Nursery in Sussex.
We can source purple and white sprouting broccoli, although quality can be erratic during periods of hot weather.
Specialties from the Continent include globe and petit violet artichokes, radicchios, radish, round courgettes and aubergines.
It’s not the best time for wild mushrooms, but we can certainly offer Pied Bleu, morel and St George. Agretti (a.k.a. monks beard) is a good bet for something different. Wild garlic and nettles are both still available but fading out.