Queensland-grown produce is dominating the Brisbane Produce Market this week, as the cold weather sees more supplies of fruit and vegetables coming in from local regions.
Hass avocados from North Queensland are in abundance as are raspberries, fresh from Caboolture. All varieties of pears are eating well however Packham pears are at the peak of their season and are eating beautifully. Small quantities of strawberries are coming from the Sunshine Coast and Stanthorpe; however we expect supplies to grow in coming days. Blueberries are scarce and priced at a premium whereas lemon, lime, Imperial mandarins and Navel oranges are in full swing and are of good value.
Planning for a baking adventure? Go seasonal with apple and rhubarb (in good supply) crumble accompanied by vanilla bean ice cream for a perfect warm dessert. Tropical fruit such as watermelon, bananas and pawpaw do not like the cold weather and so they are in moderate supply. Grapes are at the end of their season while custard apples, pomegranates, figs and persimmon supplies are also scattered.
Showcasing the exotic fruit group this week is the Tamarillo from Western Australia. Also known as the Tree Tomato, this egg-shaped, smooth-skinned fruit can range in colours from deep purple, blood red, orange to yellow and may have dark longitudinal stripes. The pulp of the fruit is like a combination of tomato and passionfruit.
In vegies this week, the markets are well supplied with local gems like eggplants, capsicum, celeriac, sweetcorn, kohlrabi, shallots, pumpkin, cabbage and Brussel sprouts. Supplies of broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini and silverbeet are decreasing.
Make the most of cherry tomatoes and sweet potatoes as they are plentiful. Gold sweet potato are the most common variety in Queensland, but you can also find red, white and purple (Hawaiian) varieties in your local fruit shops. In good supply this week are also carrots, cucumber, radish and beetroot available to add crunch to your salads.
Herbs in good supply are lemongrass, coriander, parsley, chives, mint and rosemary whereas basil is in short supply. Leeks from Victoria are in hot demand and provide a unique flavour when added to soups. Other great buys include garden peas, beans, watercress, turnips, chillies, fennel and spinach.
This week’s top pick is the Queensland Imperial mandarin. 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 be loose in feeling. Mandarins are a great source of vitamin A and C and are less acidic than oranges. Refrigerate them in a cool place for one to two weeks and use them in salads, cakes, tarts, main dishes, desserts, syrups or simply eat them as is.