Kumatoes & Bunched Turnips

The Kumato is a Tomato cultivar which originated in Spain and whose size falls within the realms of what could be regarded as a large grade salad variety; its shape is more often round but sometimes slightly elongated. It possesses a skin and flesh whose colour changes from dark green to purplish-brown during the various stages of ripening, but can in fact be eaten at any point during this process. Whilst still at the green stage its flavour is clean and mildly acidic, and its texture is good for cooking. However, both skin and flesh will gradually become much darker as the fruit’s levels of fructose increase – levels which will, in fact, ultimately far exceed those of a typical tomato, thereby giving it a sweet spiciness ideally suited for salads, sandwiches, raw salsas and dressings.

I’ve made no secret in the past of my admiration of Chinese (aka Napa) Cabbage. To me it possesses the best qualities of both a conventional cabbage as well as those of a hardy salad leaf, and can as such be utilised as either. I mention all this for two main reasons; the first one being that new season English Chinese Cabbage is now available, and, secondly, that, in terms of its texture, it is very similar to Savoy (which, as you should all be aware by now is proving rather problematic at present) and could therefore, in certain scenarios, suffice as quite a decent substitute.

So, what is the latest info concerning Savoy? Well, there is some quite good news inasmuch as English Summer Savoy has just started, but the not quite so good news is that early examples are, according to one of our buyers “a bit floppy (by which I think she meant limp-leafed) and very expensive”, and will therefore remain off-sale for the time being.

English new season Spring Greens and English Hispi Cabbage (that’s the pointy-headed one that is sometimes sold in supermarkets as Sweetheart Cabbage), on the other hand, are both in excellent fettle and highly recommended.

As predicted last time, English Broccoli has now arrived, and is what we’ll henceforth be using – be advised, though, that as a consequence of the switch from Spanish imports, box capacity will be down from 6kg to 4.5kg. Another switch from Spanish to home grown crops which will likely have been completed by Tuesday is that of English Celery. The switch from one seasonal source to another can also work in reverse at this time of year, as is currently the case with Parsnips. UK crops are in extremely short supply at present and therefore a move to Spanish imports is imminent. Furthermore, Spanish parsnips will be packed in 5kg boxes, as opposed to the 10kg nets that UK farmers favour. It’s also likely that if the quality of currently rather scruffy English Spring Onions doesn’t show drastic signs of improvement, we’ll have no choice but to replace them with the more acceptable alternatives currently being offered by Mexican growers.

German Medium Bunched Turnips are a sight to behold, being roughly cricket ball-sized, of a lovely shade of ivory white, and attached to about 40cm of lush, leafy green stalks – which are themselves entirely edible. In fact turnip stalks and leaves (sometimes collectively known as turnip greens) are among the highest rated foods in terms of their Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI). For example, 55g of uncooked turnip greens contain a mere 18 calories and provide 0.82g of protein, 0.17g of fat, 3.92g of carbohydrate, 1.8g of fibre and .045g of sugar. They’re also a rich source of minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium and zinc.

Last week’s mention of English Red Gem Lettuce sparked quite a lot of interest among many of you, for which, I must admit, we were sorely unprepared. The upshot is that when people tried to order it was found that the product’s details hadn’t been updated, which meant it was, embarrassingly, unavailable for sale. Be assured, though, that this oversight has since been rectified.