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Unicorn News

Veg news 18th July

The veg range this week is a riot of summer season abundance! Hot on the heels of new season mange tout, Thursday sees the first arrival of fresh peas from Ormskirk’s Royal Oak. With more anticipated from the Wasses in Yorkshire once their pods fatten up, seems the next 2-3 weeks will be the optimum time for pea lovers… the window of opportunity is notoriously small. It’s a great time for all the British legumes actually. French beans are plentiful from Preston’s Libby Flintoff, while further south, Whitethorn Farm are moving into their outdoor crop. Broad beans are ticking along in the background and offer good value.

Quite a few new faces in the shop of late. Welcome! Be sure to have a good read of the veg cards, they show information about provenance as well as price, highlighting the incredible range of produce we’re able to source from the northwest at this time of year. So much so that the guys from Glebelands in Sale are struggling to fit it all in their van despite delivering every other day!

The roots stand is chock-a-block, especially with early season British leeks on route from the southwest. You’ll be spoilt for choice, but please don’t miss out on the fresh onions from Herefordshire. Perhaps packing too much punch to use raw, but when softened in olive oil their tops are a wonderful addition to potato salads and fresh salsa.

French charentais melons continue to impress – more en route for later in the week. Same goes for the new season Anna apples.

Last Modified - 18th July 2017


Veg news 13th July

As trailed last week, the first Guyot pears of the season are with us from France. Early arrivals have been quite firm, but our experience from previous seasons is that their white flesh ripens well. The first French apples are hot on their heels, with the early season Anna variety heading our way from southeast France for Friday. Expect some new season tartness in evidence, a welcome contrast to the relentlessly sweet flavours of the Southern Hemisphere varieties! Also a sign of what’s to come from the UK during August. Feedback from UK apple growers is mixed. Seems unlikely be on a par with last year’s bumper crop, and the skin finish on some varieties has been affected by late hard frosts. That being said, many growers are quite optimistic for the season ahead. More to follow.

Sourcing a reliable supply of peaches and nectarines is proving tricky. Central to the problem is the snappily named spotted wing drosophila, or Suzuki fly. It has been causing serious problems for summer fruit growers over the past few seasons. The damage it causes does not always become evident until well into the ripening process, showing itself as soft spots on otherwise clean fruits. Apologies if you’ve experienced issues in the last week or so. On a more positive note, there are some terrific French apricots around. The weekend arrival is the Bergeron variety, a perennial favourite with us. Check out too the evolution of the plum season… French greengages, alongside the first smattering of British ones out of Herefordshire as the week continues.

Locally, spring onions, chard and courgettes are all abundant from Glebelands in Sale. Further south, green-top fresh onions from Carey near Hereford are a thing of rare beauty, while new season beetroot is incredibly crisp, sweet and juicy. Good value to be had on Dutch glasshouse crops, most notably cucumbers and peppers, while European grapes are becoming more abundant by the week.

Last Modified - 13th July 2017

Grow a Grocery

We think there’s room for a Unicorn-type store in every city, and perhaps more besides. We have no plans to expand outside the one shop, so we’ve put together a guide intended to help facilitate the emergence of new stores run on similar lines.

Starting a new business is a daunting process. The guide is based on the model Unicorn has tried & tested since 1996, and walks potential grocers through all areas of the business, in the hope that it will make starting a new shop an easier process and help existing shops improve and/or expand.

Read the guide here

Last Modified - 10th October 2013

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