Spring has sprung and with it comes a bounty of fresh fruit and vegetables at the Brisbane Produce Market. Read on, to find out the best buys for this week.
We’re seeing strong supplies of pineapples, navel oranges, mandarins and North Queensland-grown red papaya. Apples and pears are also widely available and make great, healthy lunchbox additions.
Sweet eating strawberries from Queensland are a consistent performer this season. These medium to jumbo-sized berries are priced at an all-time low, so, it’s the perfect time to stock up and get creative with them. Buy in bulk and make jams, slices, oatmeal bars, frozen desserts, or roast strawberries to add to trail mix.
Both avocados and lemons are in heavy supply right now and attractively priced. Combine mashed avo with lemon juice, minced garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper to make a delicious lemon avocado dip to add to crudité platters. Bananas, passionfruit, raspberries, and mangoes are all eating well, whereas limes are in limited supply.
In vegetables, hard lines have been replaced by salad lines. Spinach, coriander, and spring onions as well as many lettuce varieties like red oak, sugarloaf and iceberg lettuce are in good supply. To store salad leaves, place them in a container lined with a paper towel in the crisper section of the fridge for up to a week.
You cannot go past Aussie asparagus at this time of the year. Grilled or pan-roasted, the luscious local spears are versatile enough to have at any time of the day. Savour asparagus and smoked salmon bundles as a vibrant brunch dish, starter, or finger food with drinks.
Don’t forget to pop some nutritious broccoli in your shopping basket this week, as there’s plenty of good quality stock coming out of Lockyer Valley.
After being in variable supply for a few months, mushrooms are back in good supply. Mushrooms add a hearty, earthy taste to meals. Stuff them with ricotta, add them in pasta dishes or try an Indian-inspired mushroom masala to pair with naan bread – yum! Mushrooms are a great meat substitute for vegetarians and vegans, as they are quite high in protein.
We’re also impressed with the quality and value of cauliflower this week – think beyond casseroles and use it roasted in salads, or finely processed and sautéed in olive oil for cauliflower rice.
Zucchini from Bowen, eggplants, snow peas, green beans and Mareeba-grown red washed potatoes are in ample supply, while Lebanese cucumbers continue to be expensive due to limited volume.
There are good supplies of fennel, sweet potatoes, leeks, Asian greens and truss tomatoes from Far North Queensland. Large heirloom varieties of tomatoes are also arriving from Peak Crossing – they’ve got a beautiful rich colour, great texture, and are bursting with flavour.
This week’s top pick is super delicious blueberries from New South Wales. Did you know the cloudy coating on blueberry skin is a natural part of the fruit? It’s called the “bloom” and acts as a barrier to insects and bacteria. It’s also a sign of freshness, so the more bloom, the fresher. Full of antioxidants and low in calories, blueberries can be eaten fresh or added to drinks, desserts, sauces, or salads. Look for blueberries that are plump, firm, and unblemished and store them in the fridge; wash them just before use.
Produce report by Lamberts Fresh Produce & Brismark