Thursday, 4 December 2014

John and Elena Fruit & Veg, Bermondsey


I wrote recently about my favourite biodynamic farm, the very special Fern Verrowand promised to tell you about more independent greengrocers.  For me, it would be wonderful to eat biodynamic produce all the time but for most of us it's just not possible financially or geographically.  Here's a London greengrocer that works hard to find the best produce available. Some of it will be organic, some not.  Some will have been sourced direct from the farm, and close to London, perhaps  grown without the use of pesticides, not certified organic but simply farmed responsibly.  Advice changes but there seems to be a consensus that apples, celery, grapes, spinach and strawberries retain residues; but, asparagus, aubergine, cabbage, onions and sweet potatoes don't or, at least, are less affected.  Most of us take a judgment, I think, and if you shop with an independent you trust it's easier to make that call.

Vegetable staples

John & Elena Fruit & Veg Company run a wholesale business in Bermondsey but from 8-2pm on Saturdays they welcome in a steady stream of shoppers to fill their baskets.  I wrote about them briefly back in April this year when they were lifting the shutters for the first time.  I've been shopping there very happily for eight months now.  The Saturday crates are filled with produce bought on Friday and Saturday morning.  You can expect to find mostly seasonal, quality, fruit and veg along with store cupboard essentials such as Cicchetti, dried borlotti beans and lentils, olive oils, salts, rices and dried pasta.

The excitement of all that spring and summer produce has passed and colours have changed from pale greens, pinks and reds to dark greens, orange and luscious purples.  Last week, along with the cabbages and carrots, sat British Chanterelle mushrooms and English pumpkins; vibrant green Romanesco alongside grizzled Celeriac Root; parsnip-shaped Purple Radishes with Purple Sprouting Broccoli; wonderfully fresh heads of Italian Puntarella and Cime di Rapa; and the  new citrus season was evident in a basket of vibrant Sicilian oranges.

Sicilian Oranges

John & Elena are putting their heart and soul into this business.  Formerly employed by fruit and veg legend Tony Booth at Borough Market and Druid Street before he closed his business, they have between them some 40 years of experience in the trade.  In the past few weeks Jacob's Ladder Farms and KรคseSwiss have moved into the next door space at Spa Terminus, so on Saturdays you can buy groceries, meat and Swiss and Dutch cheeses from their shared retail space.


John & Elena
Fruit & Veg Company
5 Voyager Estate South
Spa Road/Rouel Road
London SE16 4RP
Spa Terminus Map