February is meant to be our hottest month of the year and normally I would be reporting hot temperatures and high humidity after rain across the country are affecting produce supplies but not this year. With cooler summer temperatures (and a little too much rain) all produce is in good supply and you have a bountiful box. No dinners out this weekend to eat it all up! 😂
Apples – Still early in the apple season with only gala, fuji and red delicious around. My pick was Fujis as they are local from Bilpin.
Peaches + Nectarines – there is still an abundance of high-quality stone fruit in the markets; peaches and nectarines both yellow and white varieties are exceptional, with the stand out being yellow peaches, which are a joy to eat. Coming in from Victoria.
ACN Orchards was formed back in 1984 when two brothers, Cohn and Nick Parris, took over from their late father. The orchard has grown but remains the humble, passionate and family orientated environment that they started from. The brothers focus on growing top quality peaches and apples but also grow pears, plums and nectarines. Their orchard is located in Bunbartha just outside Shepparton.
Plums – Amber Jewels are still the best eating plum this week. and these plums are juicy and sweet with a small seed.
Watermelon – seedless watermelon are in a sweet spot. Great value as coming from NSW and saving the cost of being trucked in from QLD or Northern Territory.
Grapes – late February is when our Aussie grapes hit their best. Sweet and crunchy, making them the perfect snack. white grapes this week, they don’t look great but eat well. The variety is Ivory and has a crispy texture that I really like so hope you do too. Grown in the Mildura area of Victoria.
Sweet Potato – great value this week. Grown in Bundaberg from Prichard Farms. They started with 60 acres and grew to 450 acres of sweet potatoes. In total, they have 13 farms in the Bundaberg area and around 1,000 acres of soil.
Dinner idea: Try this Sweet Potato Salad with oomph that you won’t need meat.
Celery – Great quality coming from Victoria. It is an extremely versatile food and great in salad, juice for soup or snacking, especially dipped in hommus. Dinner idea: I loved the crunch of celery in a stir fry. This Beef + Celery Stir Fry is a very simple and uses the celery leaves as well.
Corn – summer corn is still in full swing. It grows in QLD, NSW and right through to Victoria and is remaining at bargain prices.
Dinner idea: Sometimes simple is all you need and corn on the cob with a pinch of salt w lashings of butter is all you need.
Zucchini – this week’s top pick is excellent, quality and local zucchinis arriving from the Southern Highlands.
Dinner idea: so many ways to use zucchini: chargrilling, adding to pizza, or grating for fritters or savoury muffins.
Cucumber – locally grown in Catherine Fields. Most of our Lebanese cucumbers are grown by farmers who are of Lebanese origin.
Dinner idea: every one loves peanut butter, spice it up and it’s a match made in heaven with cucumber (and also carrot) so try this Beef Rice Bowls w Thai Peanut Sauce
Capsicums – superb red capsicum that would compete in size with an elephant’s foot coming from Stanthorpe in QLD granite belt area.
Dinner idea: Spend less time washing up and more time relaxing with this easy traybake; Chicken W Capsicum, Saffron, Honey + Nuts
Avocado – New season avocadoes have arrived. Shepherds are the first variety. Their flesh is firmer, compared to the creamy texture of a Hass and thus does not smash as well. So if you love your smashed avo on toast it can get a bad rap. I’m a fan of a Shepherd (truth be told, I’m a fan of any avocado) Speaking for the affirmative; Shepherds once cut stays green, keeps better in the fridge and looks nicer in guacamole, salads and sandwiches. It has a nutty, buttery flavour that is as good, if not better than Hass.
To know your Shepherd avo is ripe, as the skin doesn’t change colour, give a gentle press near the top, if it gives a little, it’s ripe. If it’s not ready keep it on the bench for one to three days.
Dinner idea: you can go past guacamole. This is a simple take on it. Serve with tacos or nachos.
Eggplant – value buy this week. Late summer’s last burst of supply. Many recipes call for eggplants to be salted and rinsed to draw out any bitter juices, but because your eggplant is so fresh it shouldn’t be necessary.
Dinner idea: Caponata- is a perfect recipe for this week as it also uses celery. Serve with grilled chicken, white fish or a steak.
Broccoli – price rose slightly this week but not enough to keep out of your box. Grown in Stanthorpe. Stanthorpe is renowned as the coldest place in Queensland during winter months so it’s cooler climate over summer without the humidity makes it a good growing area for broccoli.
Dinner idea: before we start dousing broccoli with cheese sauce with Autumn setting in, try this simple Warm Sausage + Broccoli Pasta Salad
Tomatoes – still good value in truss tomatoes. Store your toms at room temperature, out of the sun and with the stem side down to help prevent moisture from leaving, and bacteria from entering the tomato.
Dinner idea: nearly everyone loves rissoles; Italian Beef Rissoles w Fresh Tomato Salsa dresses them up
Growers Mark Millis + Warren Nichol worked alongside their families in the Melbourne market for many years selling all types of fresh produce before moving to grow glasshouse truss tomatoes. They started in 1988 with 3,000m2 of plastic igloo greenhouses in Gippsland Victoria. The tomatoes and business flourished and they kept upgrading the greenhouses until in 2001when they built their first glasshouse. Using glass allows greater control in managing the temperature and pest outbreaks which results in better yields. Flavorite is now one of Australia’s largest glasshouse producers of truss tomatoes.
Snow Peas – well supplied coming from Victoria. You eat the whole legume and hence the French name is Mangetout which translates to eat all. The key to enjoying them is not to overcook them so they are still crunchy, and in fact, are delicious raw as well.
Dinner idea: They are a fantastic addition to stir-fries, in salads or just as a green vegetable with the main meal so check out my Pinterest board
Lettuce – your lettuce this week is Butter Lettuce. This is living lettuce as the root ball is still intact. Leaving the roots on allows for nutrients to continue to supply nourishment and help our more delicate lettuce types stay alive, meaning you get a fresher product for longer.
Dinner idea: The leaves are also the perfect size and shape for rolling around something else. They work well for Asian wraps or for curling around some tuna salad so check out my Pinterest board
Asian Greens – dark, leafy greens are starting to make a comeback with the cooler weather. This is Gai Larn or Chinese Broccoli. Locally grown by Asian market gardeners in Rossmore.
Dinner idea: Gai Larn + BBQ Pork Stir-Fry is so simple it will convert you to Asian greens forever. The hardest part is getting the BBQ Pork. I buy my BBQ pork from M+G Butchery in Spring St, Chatswood. Spring St is now a dead-end and if I have no other reason to be in Chatswood I grab a family member and wait in the no standing area whilst they nip in to buy the BBQ Pork.
When there is produce in your box that isn’t a staple like potatoes, carrots, broccoli I will provide links to recipes via my Pinterest account to give you inspiration. I try to give you easy, everyday recipes as I know there is often not a lot of time to cook dinner.
CORN – click here to view recipes on my Pinterest board
CUCUMBER – click here to view recipes on my Pinterest board
TOMATO – click here to view recipes on my Pinterest board
CAPSICUM – click here to view recipes on my Pinterest board
BROCCOLI – click here to view recipes on my Pinterest board
ZUCCHINI – click here to view recipes on my Pinterest board
EGGPLANT – click here to view recipes on my Pinterest board
SNOW PEAS – click here to view recipes on my Pinterest board
BUTTER LETTUCE – click here to view recipes on my Pinterest board
CELERY – click here to view recipes on my Pinterest board
GAI LARN – click here to view recipes on my Pinterest board
SWEET POTATO – click here to view recipes on my Pinterest board