April and May are the start of what’s known as the Hungry Gap, when UK winter crops are over but the new season’s are yet to begin. Where you shop will decide what is available and ‘seasonal’ to you at this time.
If you buy a veg box and eat a mainly UK-seasonal diet, extending it to the seasons of our closest neighbours, you will see a few British favourites like asparagus and Jersey Royal spuds, combined with tunnel-grown lettuce, and the last of the British leeks and spring greens.
Top these up with Spanish and French salad veg like lettuce, peppers and tomatoes. If you’re perusing supermarkets, you will likely also see early UK tomatoes, which will be grown indoors using extra light and heat at this time.
May and June bring the welcome return of new season UK veg, including the first broad beans, radishes, and bunched carrots. From overseas, expect the delights of Spanish-grown melons, and grapes from Italy and Greece, as the frontrunners of Europe’s fruit season.
While the seasons might merge on supermarket shelves to create the illusion of year-round availability, geographically they can be miles apart. In spring, there are plenty of changes – spot the end of European citrus in March/April, from where it will move to supply from South America.
Check packs and you’ll see blueberries and raspberries also still coming from the southern hemisphere until the UK season starts, starting with Scottish-grown berries in May.
Season’s Eatings is a new regular column by Wicked Leeks’ editor Nina Pullman to track what’s in season, at its best or coming soon.