May brings with it the warmer weather finally, meaning the stars of the show have to be our full range of locally grown produce. First from New Home Farm in Ardleigh, we will be stocking their Asparagus, Rhubarb, Strawberries, Blueberries and Raspberries. Also don’t forget about the boxes of class 2 soup Asparagus. You should get a good few cheeky usable bunches out of the box as well!
Then the greatly anticipated arrival of Local Baby Veg from Remfresh Farm in Ardleigh will be another menu boost. Baby Beetroot (Purple, Candy and Golden) will start their season with the sweetest, most tender bulbs — perfect for salad or vegetable use. Then there are the bunches of Baby Fennel which come with their ferns and are truly amazing. There will also be the perfect little chalk white Baby Turnips, sweet and crunchy Baby Carrots and long fragrant Baby Leeks. These are the best quality baby veg that you will come across, so make use of them!
Other notable soft fruit worth mentioning are French Blackberries and Dutch Redcurrants.
Another product that guarantees to add good flavour and look great are bunches of Mixed Radish and French Breakfast Radish as well.
If your pastry chefs are getting restless with the lack of interesting fruit, May will start to bring them some solace. Stone fruits go from strength to strength so maybe consider plump American Cherries. They should be a good buy this month but the price will start off quite high.
If cherries don’t cut the mustard maybe try Spanish Apricots, as their quality and price both improve as the Spanish climate warms up towards the later part of May. We should also start to see regular supply of Peaches and Nectarines too.
Another great option are Honey/Alfonso Mangoes. They are definitely the best mangoes money can buy but unfortunately they do have quite a short season. The flavour, sweetness and colour inside will blow your mind!
Kent will bring us many varieties of Salad including Cos, Little Gems, Oak Leaf, Lollo Rosso and Lollo Bionda.
In Apples, Cape Royal Gala and Braeburns will continue to vie with New Zealand Cox’s for a share of the lime light. New Zealand Braeburns will enter the fray at the end of the month.
Plums are worth a miss. Only bland hard American fruit reaches the market in May.
Samphire is also something that is a very nice choice for a side dish or garnish for your fish dishes. Or Why not try a Sea Veg Wheel from Nurtured in Norfolk.
Jersey Royals will start to come into their own and they won’t break the bank as we get closer to June. ALL Potato prices traditionally escalate in May. Cyprus Large New Potatoes are a great alternative and are a good all rounder.
Italian Globe Artichokes represent great value in May however you will have to say goodbye to Jerusalem Artichokes on your menus as their season comes to an end.
Carrots can vary in price and provenance as the English strawed crop finishes and we turn to European imports.
Celeriac, Parsnips and Swedes may begin to become woody and can be prone to rot.
New French Turnips are a great choice and will be joined by the new English crop at the end of the month.
Shallot prices will rise as old season bulbs sprout and their quality deteriorates. This usually results in climbing prices as the new season often doesn't start till mid-June!
English Hispi Spring Cabbage is a May winner. If your budget will stretch, you should give Broad Beans and Peas from Spain and Italy a try.
An Italian must have are purple-marbled Borlotti Beans. They can be pricey but surely the most beautiful of all beans.
Salad leaf highlights include the appearance of Rocket & Spinach from Kent. Both offer great quality and value for money.
There is potential for problems, as usual in May with Radicchio supplies. However salvation should come in the form of Red and White Chicory from Holland.
Dutch Vegetables including all Peppers, Aubergines, Cucumbers, and Tomatoes will be perfect specimens and their prices should fall towards the end of May.
Cherry Vine Tomatoes are definitely worth a shout out as well as Rainbow Chard which is also really nice this time of year.
Mushroom supplies will remain very tight with Cepes, St Georges and Giroles becoming scarce.