Spring produce: what to expect in April & May
Seasonal veg schemes give you the experience of eating in tune with nature - this can be a challenge at first but it can also really keep your cooking interesting and varied as the produce changes through the seasons. We've had veg scheme customers tell us how their veg subsciption has revolutionised their way of cooking and eating, which is exactly what we set out to do!
Spring can be a bit of a challenge though - it's the season Brits are most unaccustomed to as supermarkets create the illusion of eternal summertime by flying in spring and summer produce from places like Tanzania, Israel, Thailand and Mexico much earlier than they are ready to harvest here.
Spring and the Hungry Gap
As we approach early spring we find ourselves in the "hungry gap". This is the leanest period in the farming calendar from late March to May, when the winter crops are coming to an end and the new-season crops are still busily growing, leaving very little available to harvest. Leafy greens are our mainstay in the spring months – Wild Country Organics are starting to produce some lovely salads, spinach, cavolo nero and Asian greens like tatsoi and pak choi. These need to be bagged in plastic to protect them, so you may notice an increase in plastic use in the coming months.
We've done a lot of work to reduce the amount of plastic we use in the veg scheme but delicate leafy greens remain a challenge as they wouldn’t survive in one piece without being bagged. We’ve explored other options and so far there are no alternatives that can adequately preserve the produce or offer any environmental advantage over plastic. Unfortunately due to heightened hygiene procedures at the moment we aren't able to reuse these salad bags, so for now we encourage you to reuse the bags as much as possible and recycle them when you’ve finished with them rather than returning them to us. You can read more about our research and reasoning behind plastic bags here
Our European friends
While the UK produce is scarce, we turn to growers from elsewhere in Europe to plug the gap until the UK season properly kicks in. The majority of the organic supply comes from Spain and Italy where milder warmer weather means they can keep sowing and harvesting a greater range of crops through the winter and spring. The same is true of the fruit bags. We're coming to the end of the stored UK-grown apples and pears, so you'll find more citrus and Italian kiwis in the bags until the UK rhubarb kicks in, followed by cherries, apricots and plums in the summer.
In season April & May
Spinach & chard
Lettuce & salad leaves
Purple sprouting broccoli
Aubergines, fennel, courgettes & peppers
Citrus, apples and kiwis