FEBRUARY'S MARKET MENU
Due to the current economic climate, we are finding that prices across the board are very unstable. Unfortunately, this is completely out of our control but we wanted to bring it to your attention.
Broccoli and Cauliflower prices are EXTREMELY high and the Cauliflower price is still continuing to rise. This is due to a European shortage which is meaning supplies to the UK are limited.
As Valentines inevitably fills your restaurants this month there are lots of nice things about to make your romancing couples forget the cheesiness of the day! Pomegranates are always good quality this time of year and are always a nice garnish or feature for your plates. Another fruit that is also in its prime and worth considering for your menus is Passion Fruit.
Spanish Onions may begin to develop problems with brown rot inside the onion. This is not easy to spot. The bulb may feel firm on the outside but be rotten and unusable a few layers down. Smaller English Onions resist the rot far better and, in my opinion, keep their flavour better in storage. However, they remain high in price.
Shallots will remain sound although some will inevitably start sprouting.
Purple Sprouting Broccoli can be in short supply due to the hard frosts but being a winter crop, it should last for a good few months yet and prices should drop if the weather plays ball. The dark leaves are delicious and tender enough to eat on their own which is just as well as there are often a few sprouts (flower buds) to be found at the beginning of the season. Don’t forget about Curly Kale which is at its best and supplies are improving each year.
In fruit, Spanish Strawberries are one of the few highlights. They trickle in at first but by mid-month are likely to flood the market. The fruit has a pleasant taste and can be surprisingly sweet for the time of year, although the tops can be quite pale.
Courgette prices tend to be unstable and could command big money throughout the month.
Savoy Cabbages are almost guaranteed to be good and Spring Greens will look fresher and tender.
A product that is becoming more and more popular on menus are Baby Violet Artichokes. Not only are they versatile, they can give you something a little different for a side dish. Jerusalem Artichokes are also a good choice as is Salsify which is actually quite versatile as well.
The Rolls Royce Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb is replaced by the outdoor unblanched crop at some point during the month.
Bramley Apples remain a good choice in February. English Cox’s can start to fade away.
All Lettuces are at the mercy of the weather. Iceberg, Cos, Gem, Lollo Rosso, Lolla Bionda and Frisee can be in very short supply and therefore very expensive. Radicchio can be a little variable and the price may shoot up if the Italian crop doesn't hold up well in storage. While the fairly underused Yellow Chicory remain great value for money. Red Chicory is also great quality but commands a slightly higher price than the yellow.
If you are looking for a nice Valentines Day garnish why not try Edible Violas for your plates which are always in stock. If you want a nice mix of flowers then the Premium Mix are the ones to go for. Other varieties of edible flowers available include Tagets and Tiny Tagets (these have a nice orange flavour), Roses, Nasturtiums, Fennel, Apple Blossoms and Bellis Daisies to name a few. Please note that we don’t stock these lines so they will need to be pre-ordered. We have a number of fancy Nurtured in Norfolk brochures with lots of pics and info too so if you want one with your next order just let us know!
Clementine’s and Satsuma’s have started to be turn a bit scruffy. They will be replaced by a variety called Nadorcotts which are a sweet easy peeling orange and part of the mandarin family. Blood Oranges will continue to be very good and will become bloodier inside.
Cape (South African) Peaches, Nectarines and Plums are likely to remain in good supply.
Figs will also be a decent choice for your Valentines Menu’s as they feature in the top 10 aphrodisiac food list.
If you are looking for something a bit different as a side dish why not try Eryngii Mushrooms (AKA King Oyster). They are good value for money and have a resemblance to more expensive Cepe Mushrooms.
Mange tout, Sugar snaps and Extra Fine Beans are likely to be plentiful too.
If you are looking for colour, flavour and good value for money try roasting some of the larger beetroots together. They are all available by the kilo and come in purple, golden and candy varieties.
Another good option this time of year that brings more colour and flavour to your plates are Carrots. We stock them in all shapes, sizes and colours. From Jumbo to Chantenay and of course all the Heritage Carrots in Purple, Yellow and White varieties.