April is the changing of the seasons and there are some unusual and different seasonal foods that you are unlikely to find on supermarket shelves, including foraged and wild. British crops are suffering from the ‘Hungry Gap’ as the winter veg comes to an end, and there are 4-6 weeks before we start seeing summer crops coming through. With our dependence on imported food, the Hungry Gap is not such an issue these days, but it’s worth celebrating these seasonal foods which will only be available for a few weeks.

  • Asparagus: Purple Sprouting Brocolli has bloomed its last, but Asparagus is hot on its heels.  We currently have British asparagus that has been grown in polytunnels, but are expecting the local Rogate asparagus to come through next week.
  • St Georges Mushrooms: A bit early this year, we have wild, foraged St Georges Mushrooms available this week, perfect gently cooked with cream and thyme, in an omelette, or for a steak or chicken sauce.
  • Eggs: We are all conditioned to think that eggs should be available all year round, but with the eggception of chickens, this is a seasonal treat that should be celebrated.  We have pheasant, duck, goose and Speciality Hen’s eggs, each with their own distinct flavour, perfect for breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as baking.
  • Tomatoes: The Isle of Wight Tomatoe season is back, with an ever-widening variety of tomatoes in different colours to choose from.
  • Venison: The fallow deer season draws to a close at the end of this month, but muntjac are an increasingly common pest with no closed season, and are fortunately delicious.  Try butterflied haunch, or a muntjac chop for a wild alternative to beef or lamb!
  • Wild Garlic: This is coming to the end, but the flowers are spectacular and also edible along with the leaves and bulbs.

So, you could enjoy a seasonal duck egg and St George’s Mushroom omelette for breakfast, an asparagus and pheasant egg salad for lunch and a grilled venison steak with grilled IOW tomatoes and Wild Garlic salsa verde for dinner – all local, in season and incredibly delicious.