Normally, February is our hottest month of the year with hot and humid conditions. This year temps have been more moderate with El Nino’s consistent rain so all produce is in good shape.
Grapes – Sweet Celebrations are back so it was an easy varietal choice. These were very popular with you last season. Sweet Celebration is one of a new generation of red seedless grapes. The berries are crisp, you don’t get a lot of skin and is nicely balanced between sweetness and acids.
A recent study has suggested grapes could help in the Covid fight. The study published in the scientific journal; Clinical Infectious Diseases found that a lack of adequate vitamin K – of which grapes are a natural source – was associated with poor outcomes in Covid-19 patients. The researchers identified an increased need for vitamin K during a Covid-19 illness and noted that depletion or deficiency of vitamin K can have devastating consequences in the lungs.
Plums – plums are now a serious option to peaches and nectarines. Amber Jewels started this week, and are a better eating than any others we have had to date this year, a little more money to buy but worth the effort. Amber jewels are a yellow flesh fruit with a small stone and a good eating plum.
Apples – apple season is now underway with some really good quality, new season Galas around and price is dropping so this allows me to put more fruit in your box. Apples were so expensive towards the end of last year.
Peaches + Nectarines – There is still an abundance of high quality peaches and nectarines around. As we are in the latter end of the season, white seems to be more prominent. My regular grower Lowana has a picking gap this week so you have peaches from the Murray River area in Vic and nectarines from Swan Hill also Vic.
Your white nectarine is a Regal Pearl from Temba Orchards. It is their final white nectarine for the season. Third generation growers, Temba Orchards have been growing stonefruit since 1966.
Rockmelon – February is rockmelon month. They are at their absolute best with good flavour. Good value as coming from Griffith in the NSW Riverina region.
Passionfruit – After much-needed rain December/January in some of the growing regions, it has resulted in a good yield for the farmers. Your variety is Panama.
Sweet Potato – representing excellent value this week. Most of our sweet potato comes from Bundaberg due to their beautiful dark red fertile soil. Queensland also doesn’t suffer with the heat extremes that we have in NSW + Victoria which makes it the preferred growing area.
Dinner idea: Sweet potatoes are a brilliantly versatile veg. They can be cooked in lots of different ways. The simplest way is to bake in the oven whole in their skin, as you would a regular potato, and then split and fill. Try these filling ideas; Pulled Pesto Chicken, Chicken + Jalapeño Slaw or Mexican-Style
Corn – the market is well supplied with loose corn. There is extra quantity of Victorian corn in the markets and it was cheaper than last week.
Dinner idea: my Pinterest board has lots of ideas for corn
Your grower is Rob Hinrichsen in the Fassifern Valley, south-west of Brisbane. Rob has been growing vegetables for the past 30 years and remembers rugging up as a kid to help his parents pick potatoes and other vegetables to send to market in hessian bags on an open truck. Modern farming has come a long way and Rob’s farm operation is leading the charge in on-farm and post-harvest innovation. He was named AUSVEG Grower of the Year in 2017 and has a passion for soil health and composting. Rob believes the healthier the soil, the healthier the crops.
Cucumbers – we have a small gap in supply due to rain and growers been unable to plant means your cucumbers came from Victoria which pushed up the price
Dinner idea: Cucumbers and yoghurt make a great accompaniment to meatballs for an easy summer dinner. Make your favourite meatballs, add spice if your family approve as cucumber is very cooling. Slice cucumber and toss with lemon zest, lemon juice, splash red wine vinegar and olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Spoon yoghurt onto plate, add meatballs, top with dressed cucumber and sprinkle with diced mint and dried chilli flakes.
Capsicum – crops are starting to ramp up with supply coming from South Australia, Northern NSW and Southern Queensland so back to better value.
Dinner idea: Pesto Pasta w Capsicum + Prosciutto. Quick dinner using store brought pesto sauce. Cook pasta and toss with pesto, diced capsicum and torn prosciutto (sub w pancetta or bacon)
Sugar Snap Peas – At last sugar snaps are coming off the lofty heights they have been. Victorian grown.
Dinner idea: Try Ginger Beef w Sugar Snap peas. It also calls for shallots that are in your box.
Beans – beautiful hand-picked beans and couldn’t go past the quality.
Dinner idea: my Pinterest board has lots of ideas for beans
Tomatoes – Truss tomatoes are probably as cheap as I have seen them as the glut continues.
Dinner idea: Make a fresh and colourful Greek salad in no time. It’s great with grilled or BBQ meats.
Asian Greens – Slightly milder weather means leafy greens were good this week and my Chinese market garden farmer had very good Gai Lan (Chinese broccoli). It is harvested overnight and delivered to the markets the next day.
Dinner idea: loads of ideas for stir fries on my Pinterest board
Lettuce – your lettuce is green oak. These are hydro grown and had frequent watering before picking so great quality. Locally grown in Kemps Creek.
Dinner idea: I love a simple green salad and it doesn’t have to be boring, Look for a mixture of textures (add rocket, baby spinach, avocado, shallots, cucumber, tomato, pumpkin, sweet potato, nuts, red cabbage, bacon, fetta or goats cheese) add a flavourful dressing, and all of a sudden the sideshow becomes the main event. An easy maple syrup dressing is; 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 1/2 tsp pure maple syrup, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, Salt + pepper. Place ingredients in a jar. Shake until well combined and creamy.
Rocket – Baby spinach leaves were wet and give you a shorter shelf life so rocket was the better option.
Dinner idea: My son who has finished his HSC and waiting for uni to start has a lot of free time on his hands so I have assigned him dinner duties twice a week. Last night he made simple rocket salad with sliced apple, walnuts, avocado + shaved parmesan dizzled w balsamic. He served w beef sausages + onion jam that was in the fridge and it was really good. Good food doesn’t need much prep if you have quality ingredients.
Shallots – locally grown.
Dinner idea: Coleslaw as you have the trio of ingredients in your box; cabbage, carrot + shallots; such an easy salad.
Red Cabbage – local red cabbages from the Windsor area and as it is grown just kilometres from the market its quality and freshness are unrivalled.
Dinner idea: I think one mistake people with red cabbage is trying to use it in one go. As it has a great shelf life, every time you make a salad just add a few shavings of red cabbage; it not only adds colour but texture and crunch. I have put the picture on the right to illustrate this point. It is mainly a green salad but has a little bit of red cabbage that makes it pop and adds crunch. Cabbage falls prey to enzymatic browning on any cut edge, so simply shave off the already cut edge and discard. The cabbage is still fine.
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.
SWEET POTATO – click here to view recipes on my Pinterest board
RED CABBAGE – click here to view recipes on my Pinterest board