Stuart Lawson, head of technical at fresh produce supplier Reynolds, reviews availability for the weeks ahead
Lemon availability continues to worsen, with South American volumes still delayed and quality issues due to inclement weather. In addition, the South African fruit is subject to the management of Citrus Black Spot disease and the inevitable delays in the arrival of shipments. Lime availability is also tight, but manageable. The supply of avocados continues to be low, although it is moving in the right direction. Product from South Africa and Peru is becoming more consistent and availability is building.
UK and Dutch strawberries are in full flow and their appearance, eating quality and availability are very good. However, dull and overcast weather in the UK and Northern Europe will slow growth. European stone fruit is on stream, with volumes of apricots, peaches, nectarines and cherries. Brix (sugar) levels are still quite low for the time of year, but will improve in the coming weeks.
There is an ample availability of Dutch hard salads, and of generally excellent quality. However, the current UK weather is proving challenging for pepper growers to achieve the optimal level of colouration. Volumes of home-grown cucumbers are also likely to be low for the next couple of weeks.
We are fully into the UK whole-head lettuce season and recent rains have brought on crops slightly early, although quality is being affected somewhat. UK spinach is likely to be all but unavailable for the next two weeks as this product is very susceptible to bruising from the rain.
Limited amounts of domestic peas and beans are also making an appearance, although Italian is more widely available. UK parsnips are extremely thin on the ground as the season is coming to a close, and the Spanish new season has been delayed due to heavy rains in the Jerez growing region. Finally, potato market prices are very high due to limited stocks of stored UK product.
Visit www.reynolds-cs.com or phone 0845 310 6200
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