The winter produce season is well underway with excellent supplies of most fruits and vegetables.
Citrus are one of the top performers with lemons, limes and mandarins all great buying. Navel oranges are arriving from South Australia — store in the fruit bowl for up to two weeks or extend their life in the fridge.
All apple varieties continue to be widely available, while Hass avocados, passionfruit, pineapple, watermelon, star fruit and raspberries are all in good supply. Sunshine Coast strawberries are starting to appear on our shelves and volumes will increase over the coming weeks. Packham pears are great value, while nashi, pomegranates and pawpaw supplies are moderate.
Rockmelon and blueberries are in short supply and the plum season has ended. You can still pick up the last of the custard apples, but they won’t be around for much longer. Grapes are nearing the end of their run, which has been longer than expected due to the warm, dry summer.
There is a terrific range of well-priced vegetables including rocket, radish, kale, spinach and sweet potatoes. Look out for winter favourites like fennel and cauliflower, and snow peas and sugar snap peas from Bundaberg are great value — they’re a versatile addition to stir-fries and salads.
There are good supplies of Asian vegetables, asparagus, beans, brussels sprouts, cabbage, celery, wombok, eggplant, lettuce, mushroom, okra, salad leaves, silverbeet, zucchini and potatoes. Maximise flavour in your cooking with garlic, ginger, herbs, onions, shallots and spring onions.
Keen to experiment? Try adding white or purple kohlrabi (think of cabbage crossed with broccoli) to soups, gratins, roast and stews — ask your local store if you can’t find it.
Supplies of leeks and broccoli are low, while capsicum, corn and tomatoes are available but not abundant.
This week’s top pick is the Packham pear, an Australian-born and bred variety. Look for firm, fragrant fruit and store at room temperature until ripe. Once Packhams have turned yellow, store in the fridge for up to four days. For a classic winter dessert, poach peeled and cored Packham pears with red wine, caster sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and star anise. Use them in savoury dishes like salads with blue cheese and walnuts, or roast with balsamic vinegar and serve alongside baked ricotta.
For A Better Choice of what this season has to offer, look for Your Local Fruit Shop. Go to www.yourlocalfruitshop.com.au to locate your closest store. Check out the Your Local Fruit Shop Facebook page for the latest news from your local fresh produce experts at https://www.facebook.com/yourlocalfruitshop.
Brisbane Produce Market