The vegetable market is pretty good considering heat wave conditions one week and heavy rain the next. As always at this time of the year, its fruit that is at its best and lots of variety on offer.
Grapes – 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 Sunraysia region of Victoria.
Plums – you have a red plum that is sweet, sour and juice. It is also are full of anthocyanins.
Your plums were grown by the Kaso family in the Goulburn Valley. The Kaso family history started back in 1959. When the farm started, the majority of the fruit grown was mainly ‘canning’ fruit consisting of apricots, peaches, and pears. The work on the farm was mostly manual at that time. The fruit was harvested in wooden cases which held about 24kg. Progressively, the farm transitioned to using bulk bins and forklifts, which made the work a lot easier. As things were improving and changing Kaso started to change the fruit varieties and moved more into the business of fresh fruit markets with plums, pears and apples, which is what we knew them for today.
Bananas – excellent quality in good volumes. Ever wondered why bananas are bent. This is due to a phenomenon known as negative geotropism. Once developed, instead of growing towards the ground, bananas turn towards the sun. The fruit continues growing against gravity, giving the banana its familiar curved shape.
Apples – Apple season has started and Gala’s are the first apple variety. Good supply coming thru and prices are dropping. Galas are crispy and juicy but tend to turn floury after being exposed to warm air, so best stored in the fridge. Any other apple comes from last year’s harvest and is therefore have been kept for a number of months in refrigeration. They are still OK to eat, but won’t have that crisp, fresh flavour of a new season apple.
Watermelon – loving the flavour at the moment, coming from Cowra to Hay. You know they’re good when they start breaking whilst you are trying to cut and that means the sugars are well developed.
Peaches + Nectarines – There is a plethora of good eating peaches and nectarines in the markets this week. Stayed with white for both peaches + nectarines as Lowana, one of my preferred stonefruit growers had only picked white varieties this week.
Dinner idea: Lamb Cutlets w Nectarine + Lime Salsa – Combine 1 teaspoon mustard and 1 tablespoon of honey in a small bowl. Brush lamb cutlets with the marinade and set aside whilst you make the salsa. Dice nectarines and combine with shredded fresh mint, lime zest and lime juice. Heat oil in a large frypan. Cook lamb over medium heat for 2-3 minutes on each side. Serve with a green salad.
Potatoes – new season, freshly dug local Pontiac’s from Robertson. Pontiac’s have deep eyes which make them difficult to peel so I don’t buy very often. I jumped on these as Robertson is known for their potatoes as they have very fertile soil and high annual rainfall so you know the taste will be there. Pontiac is a very reliable all-rounder; great to boil, bake, roast, microwave and mash but not so suitable for frying.
Dinner idea: Oven-baked wedges and serve w sour cream + sweet chilli sauce, bring pub snacks home.
Corn – is good value and hard to go past. Corn is extremely resilient to the heat at this time of year and we have a few growing areas; Sydney basin, Victoria and QLD so there is a strong supply arriving daily which makes it very affordable.
Dinner idea: Lemon Chicken w BBQ Corn + Mint Salad a simple dinner using chicken tenderloins so quick cooking.
Cucumbers continuing to be of great value. Local cucumbers from the Kemps Creek area.
Dinner idea: I have loads of salad and wrap ideas on my Pinterest board
Snow Peas – good quality around. Light and quick to prepare on these humid nights.
Dinner idea: I love the crunch for a salad so try either Teriyaki Beef Skewers w Snow Pea Salad or Grill Miso Fish w Snow Pea Salad. Both recipes are ‘pearfect’ for a Feb dinner.
Beans -some great quality handpick beans around for almost the same price as the machine picked.
Dinner idea: I’m all about keeping it light and easy at this time of year and this recipe is variation of the ever popular, kid-friendly honey soy chicken w noodles + beans.
Broccoli – good quality and value this week coming from Stanthorpe in southern QLD. Small heads as slower growing in the humidity of summer.
Dinner idea: to make broccoli a little more of summery veg, I like to serve on a bed of hummus or tzatziki. You can make but much easier to buy already prepared.
Tomatoes – the glut of excellent and great value truss tomatoes continues. Tomatoes are coming from South Australia and Victoria with a bit from Queensland. You also have a some truss cherry tomatoes for all your salad needs.
Dinner idea: As you have both truss and cherry toms make a simple tomato salad. Cut truss tomatoes into slices and cherry toms into half and arrange on a plate or platter. Top with finely sliced red onion rings, chopped basil or parsley and season with salt. Drizzle with balsamic and olive oil (optional). If time permits and ingredients at hand you can add a few olives or crumbled fetta or goats cheese or shaved parmesan.
Avocado – has become a staple and great in salads and hard to leave out of the boxes so a little leniency on ‘my not in season’ policy.
Dinner idea: add to any salad or use to make guac for tacos
Eggplant – Thrives in summer so in plentiful supply and dropped in price. These are glasshouse eggplants so without the seeds you find in field eggplants which makes eggplant bitter. Grown on a family farm in Gippsland, Vic.
Dinner idea: Eggplant, Mint + Chilli Rice w Blue-Eye is one of my go-to recipes for eggplant. I adapt it to using regular eggplant, white rice if I’m out of brown and baby spinach instead of English spinach. Omit the chilli if you are not keen on heat. I use this to serve with other fish or chicken as well.
Iceberg – Salads are looking lush with great supplies of iceberg. Supplies were strong this week with basement prices. Iceberg is great for adding crunch in tacos and wraps, best for san choy bau and prawn cocktails, use in BLT’s for sandwiches. Also good is cutting into wedges and drizzle over a creamy dressing.
Your iceberg was grown on Mason Brothers Vegetable Farms, one of the largest producers of lettuce in Australia. Romano Mason emigrated to Australia in 1965 and began working with his brothers on their family farm in Victoria. They now operate more than 200 hectares across two locations at Werribee and Balliang. Romano’s sons joined him and now oversee operations. They hand harvest their iceberg crops in the cool hours of the morning to keep the lettuce crisp and preserve quality. Mason Brothers also grow broccoli and fennel.
Dinner idea: I have loads of salad and wrap ideas on my Pinterest board
OUT OF SEASON
Mangoes – Kensington Pride, our main eating mango has finished for the season with the exception of one growing area around Rockhampton but this isn’t a great growing area and I don’t think they are good eating quality. Late season varieties; Honey Gold and Calypso are around but these are licensed varieties. This is where a grower buys the plant breeders’ rights to the variety and restricts who grows and who sells them. When they are at the markets I will try to grab some.
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.