September usually marks the end of the English soft fruit season, although Essex Strawberries should carry on for the best part of October. Blackberries won't be as plentiful as you might imagine and English Raspberries will begin to disappear altogether.
Don’t forget fresh English Sweetcorn ears. They are still going strong with their super sweet taste.
We will start to see the first English Apples. English Conference Pears will be crunchy and delicious and French Williams will also be excellent. The best fruit arrives from France and Italy mid-month.
Turkish Black Figs are easily one of my favorite fruits used for both desserts and savory dishes and they are at their best in September/October. They will make a fantastic addition to any menu!
Get ready to say goodbye to Peaches, Nectarines and Apricots. All are around at the beginning of the month, but will virtually disappear by the end. Peaches go out with a bang though, as the end of the season are usually the sweetest. Beautiful red veined Blood Peaches often flitter in and out in September.
Seedless Grapes may begin to get problematic. You can forget about Cherries and also Lychees. Rambutans are likely to be excellent though.
Plums should, at least, be plentiful at the beginning of the month, though we will see Greengages and Victoria’s finishing towards the end.
September is truly a time to return to your roots. Celeriac is back on form and Carrots, Turnips and Swede are likely to be good value for money. Even Parsnips begin to develop their full, sweet taste. Milky and crunchy new season French red skinned Jerusalem Artichokes will be with us by the end of the month. Leeks and English Onion prices should also remain low.
UK Salad crops are definitely at the mercy of the weather. A few frosty September nights can spell the end for local outdoor-grown Lettuces. In recent years however, the mild weather has prevailed throughout the month and the quality and price of home-grown salads has remained good. English Radicchio thrives in the cooler weather, becoming the best quality of the year.
In addition to wonderful deep orange sweet Muscat Pumpkins, we will have plenty of late summer squashes available too. The boxes of English Mixed Heritage Squashes are especially worth a look.
Brassicas are usually excellent in early autumn, although the pricing is higher than most years. Broccoli should be dark and tight and Cauliflowers bright and close-textured. Pyramid-floreted Romanesco will be at its best and it tastes as good as it looks. Real super-crinkly Savoy Cabbages will arrive, replacing the less wrinkled summer crop. Although it is available pretty much 12 months a year Curly Kale will start to getting darker green and more flavourful. If you’d rather go for something more exotic, Swiss Chard and Pak Choi pack plenty of taste and look great.
Marrows and Courgettes may be plentiful too but a cold snap can cause them to disappear rapidly.
The excitement of the first mushroom hunt of the season invariably renews one’s addiction. In September fungi begin to pour in from all over Europe and prices should start to drop. Revel in Trompettes, Pied de Moutons and Girolles. If your looking for a ‘cheaper’ option we can also get frozen Morels, Cepes and Girolles. Or you can always go with dried varieties which are Mixed Wild, Black Trumpet, Cepes and Morels.
If you want something a bit different and good value for money then why not try some King Oyster Mushrooms (AKA Eryngii Mushrooms) or some Hen of the Woods (AKA Maitake) Mushrooms. They not only taste good but add something a little different to your plates. Shimeji Mushrooms are also a good value option and are great cooked or even lightly pickled.
Lemons, Limes and other citrus fruits continue to be on the expensive side. This is because of the gaps between the Northern and Southern hemisphere seasons not quite lining up.
Spinach is likely to be good, as the cool weather allows it to take on a darker colour.