Secrets of Surrey Street Market: The Ugli fruit story
As it’s been the school holidays, I’ve been bringing my nine-year-old son, William, with me on market days.
He’s been having a fantastic time perfecting his market cries, much to the amusement of the customers passing by and making friends with the other traders. The market is a fantastic place for children to spend time. There is so much to discover.
Last week, William made a fantastic discovery when we visited our good friend, Ali’s fruit and veg stall. Last week, William discovered the UGLI® Fruit!
Ali had found a few last boxes of UGLI® Fruit during his 2am visit to Spitalfield Market, right at the end of their season in the UK and decided to take a chance and bring them back to Surrey Street. His gamble paid off and, thanks to his fantastic sales techniques, and lots of free samples right up and down the market, Ali sold out quickly.
I think most of us were enjoying samples on our stalls and talking to our customers about the mysterious fruit with the funny name and encouraging them to go and try them.
UGLI® Fruit comes from Jamaica and is a tangelo variety, a large citrus fruit. William was immediately drawn and amused by its name and how it described a fruit that isn’t exactly attractive to look at.
The UGLI® Fruit slogan states; “The affliction is only skin deep. The beauty is in the eating.” and I discovered this to be true. It has a really unique, fragrant and refreshing taste. I was intrigued by them so called up Gordon Sharp, the owner of Trout Hall Ltd. who export these tangelos under their trade name, UGLI®.
Gordon told me how his father and uncle discovered the tangelos back in 1924, when a friend of their father, Gordon’s grandfather, suggested he send his sons across to the other side of Jamaica to have a look at a “strange fruit” that was growing there. The boys took bud wood from the tree back and the family started to grow them in their orchards at Trout Hall. They soon began export and, in 1934, a customer in Canada asked them for, “more of those ugly fruits.” The name stuck, was changed to UGLI® and became their trade mark.
None of the big supermarkets in the UK stock UGLI® Fruit. This is just an example of the unique and varied produce you can find on Surrey Street market every day. Things you can’t find anywhere else!
Sadly, there will be no more UGLI® Fruit in the UK until February but Ali has promised to stock more as soon as they are back. I have a lot more to tell you about the story of the UGLI® Fruit, how it is grown, the journey it takes to the UK, the amazing health benefits of eating it and some recipes that Gordon shared with me, straight from Jamaica.
I’ll share all this with you in February, as soon as the fruits are back. In the meantime, take a stroll down Surrey Street and see what new and unusual produce you can find there. Ask the traders about them and how to cook them and keep a note of what you find because, next week, I’ll be launching a Surrey Street recipe competition.
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