Trade show 2017 – Dates for your Diary

Trade show 2017 – Dates for your Diary

Trade show season is officially underway. This week we had the first trade show of the year. We started the season with the Source Trade Show at the Westpoint Exhibition Centre (Exeter). Our stand was very well received and gave us  a fantastic opportunity to interact with existing customers and make some exciting new contacts with whom we hope to form working relationships. We were joined on our stand by team members from Cornish Orchards, Exploding Bakery, and Flavour Foundry. All of whom were kind enough to supply visitors (and our team) with delicious samples from their exquisite ranges. We would like to thank all of the producers who provided us with their products and helped make our stand look so eye catching. Meet the Producers 21.2.17 The next event on the trade show calendar is possibly the one we our most excited about. We are holding our own event for the trade to help celebrate all of the fantastic artisan producers that help make up the Plough to Plate range. We are pleased to be be bringing together over 50 local producers in one room. This will allow people to interact with the producers and get an unique insight into their passion for food. For more details on this Special Event please see our previous blog.* The trade show will also feature an exclusive money off offer giving all those who attend the change to stock up and save before the season gets under way. We are also excited to be launching our new look Plough to Plate brochure. We have worked very closely with all the producers and the team at...
Potatoes – our guide to potato varieties

Potatoes – our guide to potato varieties

A starchy, tuberous crop, the potato comes from the perennial nightshade Solanum tuberosum. The word “potato” can refer to either the plant itself or more commonly, to the edible tuber. The English word for potato comes from the Spanish patata which is believed to be a compound of the Taino batata and the Quechua papa. Originally, the name potato referred to a variety of sweet potato and although the two plants are not closely related, a large amount of literature regarding plants and agriculture does not differentiate between the two. The sweet potato belongs to the same family as morning glories in comparison; white potatoes belong to the same group as tomatoes and eggplant. Potatoes an important crop. Following maize, wheat and rice, potato is the world’s fourth-largest food crop making the plant an integral part of the world’s food supply. On average each person eats 33kg of potatoes each year. In 1995, the potato became the first vegetable to be grown in space when seeds were germinated on the space shuttle Columbia through a joint project between NASA and the University of Wisconsin with the goal of feeding astronauts on long space voyages and eventually feeding future space colonies. Worldwide, there are approximately 5,000 varieties of potato with 3,000 of these being found in the Andes alone mainly in Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile, Colombia and Peru which is where it was first domesticated. In addition to the 5,000 cultivated varieties, there are also around 200 wild species and subspecies with many of these being cross-bred with the cultivated varieties. Repeated cross-breeding has been done to transfer resistance of particular...
Peaches Nectarines Apricots seasonal stone fruit

Peaches Nectarines Apricots seasonal stone fruit

Peaches & Nectarines A peach is a stone fruit from a fruit tree of the rose family. Peaches are grown throughout the warmer temperate regions of the Southern and Northern hemispheres. Believed to be native of China, the peach tree spread west through Mediterranean countries before later being found in other parts of Europe. From as early as 1600, the fruit was found in Mexico as the Spanish explorers took the peaches to the New World. It wasn’t until the 19th century when large-scale commercial peach growing began in the United States. Prior to this, the cultivation and selection of new varieties of peaches were largely confined to the gardens of toe nobility. Over the centuries, the practice of grafting superior strains into hardy seedling rootstocks took the peach from an often poor quality product to a high quality, delicious and juicy fruit known today. Peaches that are cultivated are divided into either clingstone or freestone, dependant on whether the flesh sticks to the stone or not. Occasionally, fruit can be found which is partially clingstone and freestone thus these are called semi-free. Clingstone peaches are preferred for canning whereas freestone for eating fresh. Both clingstone and freestone peaches can have either yellow or white flesh. Although, taste can vary greatly, yellow- fleshed peaches generally have an acidic tang coupled with sweetness which is historically favoured by those in Europe and North America. Yellow-fleshed peaches are especially high in vitamin A. The white-fleshed in comparison, are typically very sweet with little acidity and are most popular in Japan, China and neighbouring Asian countries. Although commercially regarded as different fruits, nectarines...
Beetroot – Hard to “beet” this amazing root!

Beetroot – Hard to “beet” this amazing root!

The beetroot or beet is the taproot portion of the beet plant and is also known as table beet, red beet, golden beet or garden beet.  All of these names are several cultivated varieties of Beta vulgaris which are grown for their edible taproots and leaves known as beet greens. Beetroot is classed as one of the most environmentally friendly crops as it rarely needs treatment with pesticides. Beets evolved from the wild seabeet which is possibly the reason why it was originally prized for its leaves and not for the roots. The beet leaves were used primarily for medicinal properties to cure problems such as a fever or constipation Beetroot Discovery. The word “beet” is believed to of first been mentioned in an Assyrian text around 800BC. It was described as growing in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and being offered to Apollo, the sun god in the temple of Delphi by the Greeks. By the turn of the nineteenth century, beetroot was widely consumed across with English recipes suggesting pickling beetroot and Southern European and Mediterranean recipes using both the root and the greens. Beetroot was used as a treatment for a variety of conditions in the Middle Ages in particular illnesses relating to blood and digestion. The Italian Renaissance humanist writer and gastronomist Bartolomeo Platina recommended eating beetroot with garlic to nullify “garlic-breath”.  Other uses apart from medicinal purposes include using the root of a beet as a food colouring to improve the colour and flavour of sauces, desserts, jams, jellies, tomato paste, ice cream, sweets and breakfast cereals amongst others and of course as a...
Strawberries – A taste of summer.

Strawberries – A taste of summer.

Strawberries are one of the fruits we associate most with summer time. We now have a good supply of English (from Oak Church, Kent) & Cornish strawberries arriving fresh in our fridges every day. The strawberry season traditionally ran from June to August, however the season has now been extended through the use of poly-tunnels. Cornish Strawberries. The Cornish strawberry season much like Cornish asparagus season is one of the highlights of the culinary calendar. Our main sources of Cornish strawberries are Mitchell Fruit Gardens & Trevaskis Farm. Strawberries have been growing on at Mitchell Fruit Garden since 1977, this family run business has evolved from only growing outside to mixture of glass/poly tunnels and outside plants with hedge to prevent the wind and a remote controlled irrigation system. Also a family run business Trevaskis Farm produce a wide range of seasonal berries and vegetables as well as running a large restaurant and farm shop. Varieties of Strawberries There are over 200 different varieties of strawberry available throughout the world. For those looking for a specific type of strawberry we would recommend signing up to out Rungis email for access to some of Europe’s  finest varieties such as the Mairs des Bois strawberry and the Gariguette strawberry both famous for their flavour and aroma. You may also recall we have stocked some more unusual strawberry varieties such as the Pineberry, Strasberry and Bubbleberry. Strawberry Combinations. When people think of combining strawberries, combinations that typically spring to mind are cream, sugar or champagne. How ever recently there has been an increase in pairing the strawberry with black pepper or balsamic vinegar. The...
Minus 8 Vinegars & Verjus

Minus 8 Vinegars & Verjus

Minus 8 produce a selection of vinegars and verjus that top chefs have been using since 2001. Since we established our links with the Rungis Market we have had extremely positive feedback from those who have ordered from the Minus 8 collection. Minus 8 Origins. The name Minus 8 originates from the temperature at which the grapes are picked. Grown on a family owned and operated 100 acre vineyard in Niagara, Canada, the grapes benefit from the regions warm summers and cold winters. The grapes are picked well past their normal harvest in the winter months when the temperature drops to at least -8⁰C.  Over the autumn, the grapes oxidise on the vine and they start to dehydrate which adds to the complexity of the flavour through the concentrations of the acids, sugars and flavours in the grape. When the temperature is -8⁰C or below the water within the grape begins to turn into ice inside the fruit which leaves the acid, sugars and most importantly the flavour in a liquid form making them perfect for pressing. The grapes are picked by hand, usually at night as the temperature is at its lowest before being pressed immediately at freezing temperatures which extracts the purest of juices resulting in a dark, raisin colour with a soft sweetness and fruitiness. Similar in body to a balsamic vinegar and in depth to an aged sherry vinegar, Minus 8 vinegars starts with a variety of up to 8 different varieties of red and white grapes, turned into wine which is then slowly fermented. Blended using the solera method where batches from previous years...