Spotlight on: fresh winter produce

You may think that winter is a poor time for fresh produce at the market, but there’s still plenty to be had at these stalls:

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Coleshill Organic: Sonia Oliver’s seven-acre garden produces fresh, organic produce all year round. Winter produce that is still available now include leeks, onions, potatoes, carrots, swedes, parsnips, celeriac and beets. Cabbages include January King, Savoy and white, there are kales, squashes, cauliflowers, as well as apples and pears. Sonia also bags up winter salad leaves, grown in polytunnels, that are filled with all kinds of wonderful ingredients such as mizuna and rocket. Over the next few weeks, look out for purple sprouting broccoli and a new vegetable – flower sprouts – a cross between kale and Brussel sprouts and set to be the next big superfood!

Duncan Paget & Co: Duncan’s great grandfather started this family-run concern with just 10 acres – today that has grown to 270 acres with 11 cousins working together to produce 600 tonnes of beet and 1.8 million bunches of carrots a year! Over the next few weeks expect to find golden beets and candy beets, leeks and parsnips, curly kale and cavalo nero, and frost permitting, purple sprouting broccoli. Over the coming weeks, the farmers will be busy with the second panting of carrots and lots more things to keep us going all year round!

Newark Farm: Steve Redman is the tenant farmer of this 3000-acre organic National Trust farm. Produce that is still going strong includes swede, cabbages, carrots, leeks and kale – both curly kale and redbor kale with its beautiful magenta leaf. Sprouting spring greens, celeriacs and chard are all available along with several varieties of potato – cara for chips and baked spuds, pink fir apple, ratte and belle de fonteney for salads, wilja for mash and rooster red for roasting.

Day’s Cottage: although apple season is behind us, there’s still some great fruit available, having been carefully stored since picking. This month, look out for tart cooking apples –Howgate Wonder, Red Two Year Olds and Taynton Codlin, used especially in mincemeat but also lovely in cakes. Eaters include famous Ashmead’s Kernel and maybe a few others.
After that it’s a case of being creative with ingredients to prolong their shelf lives – look out for dried apple rings – delicious snacks that retain all the freshness of the fruit with an exquisite concentration of flavour and bottles of vibrant apple juice, pear and apple juice, and apple juice with quince for special meals.