An abundance of tropical fruit heralds the official start of summer this week at the Brisbane Produce Market.
North Queensland is producing many of our favourites including lychees, mangoes, and bananas.
Pineapples from Mareeba are cheap and eating well — look out for the bright yellow hybrid variety which is low in acid and very sweet.
There’s plenty of value in stonefruits as they approach the peak of their season, with prices dependent on size. We recommend yellow peaches from Stanthorpe, white nectarines, as well as the many varieties of plums. Apricots are a little dearer but are still excellent quality.
All varieties of melons are well supplied this week; sliced watermelon, rockmelon, candy melon and honeydew melon make a quick and low-cost snack for kids on holidays.
The quality of bananas from up north is good and prices are about as cheap as they get.
Strawberries from Stanthorpe are reappearing on shelves, and we have good supplies of dragon fruit, limes and Hass avocado.
It hasn’t been a great week for veggies with locally grown produce like lettuce, tomatoes and capsicums all suffering in the extreme heat.
Meanwhile, cold, rainy weather in the southern states has affected supplies of broccoli, cauliflower, and beans.
One of the best buys this week is fresh chilli from Bundaberg. Look for red, green, and yellow varieties to use in stir fries, curries, and pasta sauces, or preserve them as sweet chilli jam for a homemade Christmas gift. Puree 500g tomatoes, red chillies, garlic cloves, fresh ginger and 1/4 cup fish sauce. Combine the puree with 600g white sugar and 200ml red wine vinegar in a large saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Add 500g chopped fresh tomatoes before simmering for 30-40 minutes.
This week’s top pick is Australian cherries, which are in season for only 100 days. Select plump fruit with smooth, shiny skin and the green stem still attached. Cherries like cool temperatures, so store them in an airtight bag or container in the fridge for a few days — once picked from the tree, cherries do not ripen. Packed with vitamin C and antioxidants, and with a festive deep ruby colour, cherries are stunning on their own or used in desserts, salads, and pickles, or accompanying savoury dishes like Christmas ham or duck.
You can buy the best of what the season has to offer at your nearest 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 www.facebook.com/yourlocalfruitshop
Brisbane Produce Market