Lovers of fresh fruit and vegetables will be pleased with the quality and the new-season fruit and vegetables making their way to your local fruit and veg shop this week. But spare a thought for growers in Far North Queensland (particularly Innisfail and Mission Beach) who lost crops due to cyclonic winds. The most affected crops are banana and pawpaw; therefore, some fluctuations in price and availability could be noticed in the coming weeks.
It certainly is the season for grapes with White grapes, Crimson seedless and Black Muscat available. Why not try a unique grape variety, such as Cotton Candy that tastes like fairy floss with a hint of vanilla. Coming in heavy supplies are hybrid pineapples from Sunshine Coast – they are usually small in size, super sweet and low in acid, making them perfect for lunchboxes or afternoon snacks.
We are spoilt for choice at the moment with new-season fruit offerings including beautiful eating persimmons from Gympie, custard apples from Bundaberg and glorious pomegranates from New South Wales. Back on the shelves are local strawberries, grapefruit and Australian Valencia oranges – all priced at a premium.
Other great fruity buys include red and green apples, pears, rockmelons, figs, Shepard avocados and lemons from Mundubbera. While watermelons are in moderate supply, passionfruit is short.
The local fruit and veg stores are well-supplied with Asian vegetables, Australian garlic, ginger, lettuce, salad leaves and kale from the Toowoomba region. Asparagus is enjoying a bumper season, with an abundance of stock from Victoria.
Cucumber prices are coming down this week, and there is a good supply of zucchini and green beans from Stanthorpe. Tomatoes and glossy red capsicums are top buys this week, along with Kent pumpkins and Bundaberg-grown sweet potatoes. Gold sweet potato is the most common variety, but you can also find red, white and purple (Hawaiian) varieties in your local fruit and veg shop.
Both broccoli and cauliflower are variable, whereas celery and Tasmanian carrots are eating well. Eggplants from South Australia are thriving right now. For a flavourful dish, try eggplant and bolognese stack – arrange eggplant slices on a tray, top each slice with a spoonful of bolognese and mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers and finish with grated parmesan and chopped parsley, serve hot. Other value buys include onions, potatoes, beetroot and spring onions, while corn and mushrooms are short.
This week’s hero is the juiciest of stone fruit – plums. While stone fruit season is nearing the end, plums are widely available in different varieties and sizes. Select smooth-skinned, shiny fruit with a flavoursome aroma that yields to gentle pressure. The redder the flesh of the plum, the more radical-fighting antioxidants present in it. Plums are delightful eaten raw, poached or made into sauces, marinades, desserts, or chutneys.
– Produce report supplied by Brismark