Locally grown produce reigns at your local fruit and veg store this week, with the cooler weather seeing more supplies of citrus fruit and hearty vegetables.
Good news for strawberry lovers – the winter crop from the Sunshine Coast is luscious and in good supply; eat them fresh or dip them in some dark chocolate to add a touch of decadence. You don’t have to wait for dessert to indulge!
Your best bet for smoothies this week is Hass avocados from North Queensland, pineapples from Mackay, and seedless watermelons from Bundaberg. Bananas and passionfruit are short, while persimmons and dragon fruit are on their way out of season.
We don’t usually have grapes at this time of the year, but due to a decline in exports, we have some great quality table grapes in plentiful supply. Enjoy them while you can. They’re a great addition to cheese boards.
Continuing with impressive quality and bountiful supply are navel oranges and Imperial mandarins from Gayndah, and zesty lemons and limes from Mareeba. Apart from being nature’s best protectors in colder months, citrus fruits make great desserts because of their strong flavours and aromas.
Enjoy crunch in every bite with a range of apple varieties from Stanthorpe and Batlow in New South Wales. Sweet, Packham pears from the Goulburn Valley in Victoria are plentiful at the moment, too. Pair your pears with beetroot, thyme, rocket, feta and pistachio for a delicious lunch or a light meal.
In vegetables, most lines remain unchanged this week. Kent and butternut pumpkins are value buys along with Gatton-grown broccoli and cauliflower. Seasonal buys include fresh fennel and leeks from Victoria; add them to onions from the Lockyer Valley to bake a creamy caramelised leek, fennel, and onion gratin – an easy one-pan side dish to serve at your next family meal.
Boost the flavour of your winter dishes with garlic, new season ginger and all varieties of herbs. The sage from Victoria looks great right now and is a great addition to creamy pastas, meat dishes, sausages; it also goes great with squash.
Brushed potatoes from Victoria are in ample supply. For an Indian inspired dish, make aloo tikki (potato patties) – boil and mash potatoes, add chopped onions, garlic, chillies, coriander, cumin, chaat masala, cayenne pepper and salt. Take a handful and pat it into shape. Pan-fry until golden, and then serve hot with a mint chutney! These potato patties go great with a beer and add some spice to your happy hour.
Other well-supplied local gems include corn from Bowen; eggplants, zucchini and capsicum from Bundaberg; sweet potatoes from Gin Gin; snow peas from Gympie; bok choy from Gatton; and crisp celery from Stanthorpe. Tasmanian carrots and super-healthy Brussels Sprouts are in season too, and in good supply. New-season Bowen tomatoes will be hitting the Markets in a couple of weeks, so expect prices to come down.
This week’s hero will keep you warm in winter – chillies from Bundaberg! Endlessly versatile, chillies are a fruit that adds heat to almost any sweet or savoury dish, and even drinks. Chillies range from large to small size, and colours include green, white, yellow and red. They can be used in both fresh and dry form and preserved in a zip lock bag in the fridge for up to six months.
– Produce report supplied by Brismark