The change of growing season means we are seeing more Queensland-grown fruit and vegetables at your local fruit and veg shop this week.
Crisp autumn apples from Stanthorpe remain bountiful, along with Cavendish bananas from Far North Queensland. Queensland citrus is leading the charge, with seedless lemons, limes, oranges, and mandarins all great buys right now. Add an array of colour, flavour and texture to your fruit salad with seasonal delights including creamy custard apples from the Sunshine Coast, sweet-eating persimmons from South Australia and ruby-red pomegranates from Victoria.
Pick up a pineapple when you find them in-store, as they offer great value right now. Grown in the Sunshine Coast, the winter crop is fragrant, sweet, and low in acid – which makes pineapple a perfect addition to both sweet and savoury dishes.
For a burst of goodness in a pastry, try pear turnovers. The new-season Packham pear variety is sweet, juicy and currently coming from Shepperton, Victoria. You can tell the fruit is ripe when its bright green skin fades to a light green or light yellow.
Bundaberg passionfruit continues with a strong season, and succulent rockmelons have started to arrive from Gumlu. Grapes and plums are still widely available, but strawberries are scarce at the moment due to plantation gaps. Both watermelon and blueberries are also short.
Have you tried feijoas? This New Zealand favourite is being grown locally in Stanthorpe and can be eaten just like a kiwi fruit – cut it in half, scoop out the flesh with a teaspoon and enjoy! We reached out to some of our Kiwi friends and they’ve also recommended feijoas be used in chutneys and jams, or stew them with brown sugar and have it with ice cream or cereal. Feijoas are green in colour and may vary in shape from round to elongated and in texture from smooth to rough.
In veggies, the supply of capsicums and zucchinis from Bundaberg is increasing. The Lowood and Lockyer Valley regions are currently supplying good quality broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and spring onions.
Temperature drops and rain has affected the supply of lettuce, so it is currently at a premium. Well-supplied, value buys from Darling Downs include cabbage and celery. Both are great in stir-frys and crispy slaws.
Wholesome pumpkins, butternut and sweet potatoes from Bundaberg are all in good supply, too, and calling out for soups and hearty bakes. The best-looking herb this week is sage from Victoria. With potatoes also in good supply, why not make restaurant-style gnocchi with browned butter and sage.
Other well-supplied vegetables include Lebanese eggplants from South Australia, leeks and fennel from Victoria, local tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, silverbeet, and radish.
This week’s top pick is Imperial mandarins from Gayndah. Its smaller size makes it a popular choice for lunch boxes as the kids head back to school. A ripe mandarin has a fresh citrusy fragrance, is firm, and its skin should feel loose. Store them in the refrigerator for one to two weeks. Mandarins can be eaten fresh, used in salads, drinks, desserts and syrups.
– Produce report supplied by Brismark