MARCH MARKET MENU
March isn’t the best month for vegetables as we are right between the seasons. If we are lucky, we will see the arrival of the first English Asparagus of the season — glasshouse grown and perfectly graded and presented. Although it is coaxed out of the ground with a little heat, it is not forced and in previous years has tasted exceptional.
Local Essex Wild Garlic will start to show up. Its strong, tangy and has a fresh garlic taste with bright green leaves. Use it while its here as the season is short!
Sea vegetables are also a good choice for your menus this time of year. Choose from Sea Beet, Samphire, Sea Fennel, Salty Fingers, Sea Lettuce and Oyster Leaves. Please order day 1 for day 3 to guarantee delivery.
The Cape Apple season starts in earnest. Best for taste is likely to be Golden Delicious or Gala.
Spanish Strawberries are a good choice for your dessert menus. Their flavour and quality are excellent in March as long as you can get past the somewhat crunchy texture.
Raspberries should be around too but Blueberries may prove difficult.
South American Blackberries look and taste great and will be available. Albeit at a high price.
Peaches and Nectarines will be finished and certain to be missing from the market.
Plum supplies are far from reliable. Hard, Chilean fruit should remain available but are better suited to cooking than for your fruit bowl.
Yorkshire Rhubarb is a good choice for your March menus. Local Essex Rhubarb will carry on when Yorkshire finishes and is also a nice deep pink colour. Pricing will be fairly high on both though.
As for notable English produce Purple Sprouting Broccoli and Leeks should continue to shine. We should see the arrival of English Spinach which is lovely, tender and very good value for money as the first of the season crop arrives.
Dutch Aubergines are already available this month are always glossy and firm. Perfect for blackening and using the flesh as a puree with your spring lamb dishes.
Broccoli is expected to be excellent from Spain if their weather plays ball and Cauliflower will continue in quality with its nice tight florets.
If you fancy something a little more exotic, Cavalo Nero is likely to be abundant. The delicious and dark, crinkly Italian leaves are perfect wilted in olive oil or used in Italian stews.
Fresh Morels should be available mid-month. Pied De Moutons and Chanterelles should continue to arrive with reasonable regularity. Last year we received a few Girolles and Trompettes and of course the Mixed Wild Mushrooms are of good quality and value for money. Please make sure to ring in and check availability as they can come and go and of course pre-ordering is essential to avoid disappointment.
The Rolls Royce of versatile potatoes, the Cyprus Potato becomes a more viable proposition as Old English Potatoes begin to show signs of deterioration. Jersey Royals make a spring debut and the indoor crop is always spectacular. Sadly, the price is sure to be spectacular too.
Another nice multi use leaf that is good in March is Watercress. Great in salads and with steak of course but can also make a very tasty pesto served with red meat and fish. If you want something peppery but a bit less muddy flavour why not give Landcress a go or if you want something a bit more delicate go with micro Watercress from Nuurtured in Norfolk. Please order day 1 for day 3 for the micro varieties to avoid dissapointment.
Lettuces can be fairly short as the weather from the continent will play a big role in their availability this year. They might not drop in price untill the English crops start to appear which will hopefully be towards the end of the month.
Last but not least if you are looking for something a bit different why not give Black Garlic a try. This is produced by keeping fresh garlic at a higher temperature for a few weeks and this then breaks down the sharp tasting enzymes causing whats called the Maillard reaction. This develops the garlics cloves into sweet, sticky cloves of goodness. The flavour is very umami with a balsamic vinger/tamarind like flavour. Works geat in vinagarettes, mayonaisse, worked into mash potatoes or as an accompaniment to any red meats.