What to find at the markets in December and January

What to find at the markets in December and January

What to find at the markets in December and January 2560 1709 Table Under a Tree

Hard to believe that this time last year we were still in drought; while just this morning I read reports of a bumper grain harvest expected for broad-acre farmers this season.

Things go in cycles, and the Northern Rivers is no exception. What may have been abundant and flavour-packed one year, may not be the next. So to help you think about what to look out for at local farmer’s markets this summer, here’s a few thoughts on what to look out for at the farmer’s markets over summer.

Let’s start with fruit:

  • Blueberries have had a bumper season this year. Plump and beautiful. But it will come to an end soon enough. The supplier we most often use, Tallogum, is expecting their season to finish mid-late December.
  • Local strawberries, from the ever-popular Monty’s finished a few weeks ago. Kerry told me he’ll spend summer replanting something like 22,000 plants ready for the next season (June). Wowsers.
  • Watermelon and rockmelon will start appearing at the markets any day now, and that just screams summer!
  • Apples from Stanthorpe are still available and they’re still great. Our supplier manages their orchard with a range of varieties so that they have fresh apples for as long as possible. We’re into the Pink Ladies at the moment, which are my favourite. There will a break in mid-late January and then the next season of varietals will come in from February onwards.
  • Lychees and cherries have their brief moment in the sun in the lead-up to Christmas, so enjoy them while you can get them! Local mangoes will be a little way off yet.
  • Avocados have also ended their run, and we won’t them back at the markets until around May.
  • Bananas, papaya and passionfruit are all available, as are some supplies of pineapples. Dragonfruit will make an appearance soon too. And if something else exotic sounds appealing, make a beeline for John at Picone Exotics at the Mullum, Byron or New Brighton markets and see what he has available. On any given day it will be something extraordinary!

And do you count tomatoes as a fruit? Whatever they are, they’re in season! Don’t miss the heirlooms from Coopers Shoot in particular. My daughter says they are the best tomatoes ever! Of course, there’s plenty of other varieties around from local growers, so bring on the salads.

How about the veggie world?

  • Winter crops of cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower will all end, probably around Christmas. Sad to see them go, but plenty of other options instead.
  • Local onions have also ended, so supplement with leeks or shallots instead!
  • Do look for new season potatoes too – lovely little baby spuds are great. And sweet potatoes are always strong in this region so enjoy.
  • Zucchini, capsicum and eggplant are great at this time of year, and really versatile so grab them at the markets. Ditto fennel if you see it. Beans are still available too, and work well hot or cold.
  • Corn! Fresh ears of corn are perfect now so tuck in.
  • Fresh herbs and leafy greens are also plentiful at the markets – the smell of basil… Look out for Gourmet Salad Hut at the markets in particular, and hit up Five Sixty Farms for amazing sprouts. You’ll get great ingredients for a loaded salad.

Really you can’t go wrong if you head to a local farmers’ market. Many of the local ones are strictly audited, which means the farmers can only sell what they grow themselves. It is testament to the authenticity of the produce and the best way for you to ensure you eat with the seasons.

And of course, if you’re not sure, just order a Produce Pod from us and we’ll deliver you all the fresh fruit and veggies you need!



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