Here is our latest produce update for January 2022. It provides a snapshot of what our fruit and vegetable buyers are currently seeing in the markets and gives chefs an idea of what’s in season.
The big talking point for New Year fruit is the advent of Marmalade (Seville) Oranges that are ideal for chefs who like to make their own Marmalade at this time of year. As well as the obvious breakfast accompaniment, marmalade can be used as a base for glazes as well as cakes and baking in general.
Whilst technically a vegetable, rhubarb and more explicitly UK Forced Rhubarb from Yorkshire during January gives a much needed seasonal point of difference for chefs using it in sweet desserts like crumbles or as a tart and robust ingredient in savoury dishes. The UK variety will give way to Dutch in February.
Mac Reds still in season, Bramley apples low in stock; Lovely Easy Peelers in Clementines/Nardicotes; Brazilian Melons still strong in supply – great quality; Beautiful blood oranges and navel chocolate oranges.
Forced rhubarb from Jan-mid March; South African peach and nectarine available; Small amounts of fresh lychee and Cox apples still available.
The increased interest in health and wellbeing that every New Year brings combined with a cold and wet climate points us towards warming dishes including soups and stews. Chefs can’t go wrong with root vegetables from parsnips and potatoes to celeriac and beetroot.
Flavour enhancers like ginger and garlic are always plentiful, giving that much needed kick and health benefits associated with these. UK leeks, turnip and onion are all available, especially with Burns Night just around the corner.
For colour, butternut squash and to introduce an aniseed burst incorporate fennel that can work great in salads too. For that extra health kick incorporate curly kale and spinach. Some local cauliflower still available but on to French shortly where size will increase.
Stand out veg includes local Savoy, Spring Cabbage, Kales, Cavolo Nero and chards; European Romanesco including orange variety very nice; Spanish broccoli plentiful and quality very good; Small amounts of Brussels sprout still available with pre-order notice.
Portuguese Tender Stem is fantastic quality right now; Purple Sprouting broccoli returns end Jan/start Feb; Kohlrabi Mooli, local carrots, mixed coloured carrots all very nice; No real issues regarding supply on any of the fine beans /mangetout/sugar snaps etc.
Despite the cold weather, Veganuary also sees consumers look towards what is available outside of warming vegetables and such dishes as those outlined above.
Whilst many of these are imported from more Southern, warmer climates, they taste fantastic and add that much needed ray of sunshine to remind diners of warmer and longer days ahead. Look out for heritage tomatoes, salad leaves in different textures or radicchio for its colour, spice and bitterness.
Please note: Some of the items mentioned in this produce report may be ‘special order’ so speak to your sales representative on 0345 450 8888 as early as possible to discuss availability and your exact requirements.
Alternatively, click www.williamsonfoodservice.co.uk for more information.