In season: August

 

MUSHROOMS

The newest farmers to join the Mullumbimby Farmers Market are local mushroom growers, Shroom Bros. Based at Eviron, in the Tweed Shire, Shroom Bros produce a range of gourmet pesticide free mushrooms.  Unlike many commercially available gourmet mushrooms, which start their life far away in other countries on mushroom ‘logs’ and are then imported and harvested in Australia, Shroom Bros make their own spawn from Australian wheat and inoculate their ‘logs’ on a mixture of Australian hardwood and chaff.  Mushroom varieties available at the market now include the rich, buttery meaty Shiitake, and the more delicately flavoured Oyster and King Oyster. Shroom Bros also sell pickled oysters and DIY growing kits.

EGGS

There’s a lot of confusion around the term ‘free range’ and what it means, which is why Possum Creek farm prefers the term open ‘range.’ Their chickens roam freely on fresh pasture with an abundance of space on a large farm in the Byron hinterland. With access to their natural varied diet of greens, bugs and insects, they produce delicious eggs with bright orange yolks are full of nutrition. Possum Creek Eggs are now available at the Mullumbimby Farmers Market.

ROOT VEGETABLES

Spring might be on its way but it’s not quite time to say goodbye to the roasts and slow cooks. Packed with vitamins and minerals, root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, parsnips, beetroot, sweet potato, and turnips are all in season now. Use them in soups, cut into chips, mash or roast then toss with greens, herbs, macadamias or pecans, some quinoa or cous cous and a dressing for a tasty roast vegetable salad.

 

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STRAWBERRIES

It’s been a long wait, but that only makes that first berry taste even better. Local strawberries are now officially back in season, making their first appearance at the markets a couple of  weeks ago.  If you find supermarket strawberries are lacking flavour and sweetness, you need to try a farmers market strawberry. Left to ripen on the vine (as opposed to being picked early so they can stand up to travelling and spending days on a supermarket shelf) they’re beautifully sweet and full of flavour. Alstonville-based Morrow Farm has strawberries now, and Summit Organics and Rainbow Fruit Flats are also starting to pick.

ORGANIC CHICKEN

Fans of Byron Creek Farm’s pasture-fed chicken will be pleased to find it back at the Mullumbimby Farmers Market under the new name Fox Farm. Owners Andrew and Stuart were away for 10 weeks or so as they changed the location and set up a new operation at an organic farm at Newrybar, but are back in production with a regular supply at the markets each week.  Their chickens are being raised in the same way at the new farm – outdoors and with access to the grass and bugs that make up their natural diet – plus they are they are now officially certified organic. Whole birds, wings, breasts, thighs, frames, necks, feet and livers are available at the market.fennel

 

FENNEL

 Cut thin slivers of fresh fennel and toss it into a salad with some citrus, red onion, herbs and rocket or baby spinach and add a vinegary dressing for a beautiful winter salad, The frond can also be chopped finely and added as a garnish, Fennel is also delicious braised or roasted  – cut the bulb into quarters or eighths, toss with olive oil and vinegar and roast until tender then top with fresh parmesan.

DUCK EGGS

The cold weather has kept the ducks off the lay for a while, but Myocum farmer Glenyce Creighton says they’re now back in action. Bigger than hen eggs, duck eggs have more flavour and are higher in good fats, including Omega 3s. They’re fantastic for baking (duck eggs are the secret weapon of the master sponge baker) and will make your cakes and pastries rich and fluffy.

LEAFY GREENS

Highly nutritious leafy greens including spinach, silverbeet, kale, broccoli, lettuce and other leafy greens are at their peak now and available fresh each week.

SPINACH AND FETA ROLLS

Deliciously flaky and filled with fresh spinach and locally produced Nimbin Valley feta, Scratch Patisserie’s spinach and feta rolls are the ideal snack to power you through your morning farmers market shop. Available now alongside Scratch’s Beef Rolls and Pork and Fennel Rolls at the markets every Friday.

NATIVE BEE BOXES

Native bees are a great addition to any backyard garden. They are extremely effective plant pollinators, and although they only produce small quantities of honey, it’s utterly delicious. Our native produce stall, Playing with Fire, is now stocking locally made native bee boxes, which include instructions on caring for your bees and splitting the hive.

RHUBARB

This vibrantly coloured pink vegetable is pure winter comfort food. Stew with apple or pears, and a little sugar, and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, yoghurt or custard. Stew a big batch and you can have a scoop on your porridge or muesli in the morning.  You can roast it too. Available from Summit Organics

BLUEBERRIES

After a slow start to the season, local blueberry farm, Blueberry Fields, is back at the market with delicious locally grown berries. The big buckets of seconds are still pretty scarce, so you will have to be quick for those, but the punnets of first grade fruit are tasting so good, you might want to go for those anyway.

DUTCH CARROTS

Dutch carrots are smaller sized carrots sold with their tops on. They have a sweet flavour and are more tender than regular carrots. Eat them raw, steam lightly or bake. Always cut the green tops off as soon as you get them home, as they will absorb moisture from the carrots. And don’t waste the greens – you add them to stocks and to salads or pesto.  (or give them to your rabbit or guinea pig). Find Dutch carrots at the Everest Farm stall.

MANDARINS

Who doesn’t love a mandarin? These little fruit have to be one of the most convenient snack foods around. Just grab and go for your handbag or the kids lunchboxes – easy to peel and there’s no mess because the fruit is already broken into those easy-to-eat segments. Better still, they’re in season during winter and give you a Vitamin C hit just when you need it most. Mooball fruit growers Peter and Nora Brils are currently picking this year’s crop of mandarins; find them at their Mullum Farmers Market stall, Jungle Juice. Mandarins also available from The Organic Avocado.

CORIANDER

The bright lemony flavour of a handful of fresh coriander leaves is the secret ingredient in so many dishes – think fragrant Thai soups and curries, Vietnamese chicken salad, bahn mi, Indian curries and even guacamole. Add it just before serving for the best flavour and don’t forget to save the roots as they can be used for home made curry pastes. Winter is the best season for fresh local coriander – find it at The Salad Hut and Summit Organics or grab some seedlings from the market and grow your own.

 MACADAMIAS

Macas are the ultimate local food. They’ve grown in this region for thousands of years and are now one of our most important crops. Freshness matters when it comes to nuts – the fresher they are the more nutrients they contain and the better they taste – and some of the freshest nuts available locally are Nudgel Nuts, which come from Ian McRae’s property at The Pocket.  Ian handles every step of the processing on farm, and his macadamias are roasted fresh each week for the market. You’ll also find super-fresh macadamias at Rainforest Foods, which come direct from the Hotson farm at Tuckombil.

PEAS

Nothing compares to the taste of a sweet, plump juicy pea straight from its pod. Use fresh peas in pasta and rice dishes, soups, or steam lightly and serve with butter and salt and pepper – much better than the frozen ones! If you can’t be bothered with shelling, try snow peas, which are also in season – delicious as a side, in stir fries, or raw in salads. They’re also great for kids’ lunchboxes. The sweetest of all the peas – the sugar snap – will also be available at the markets in coming weeks. Look for fresh peas at Everest Farm, Jumping Red Ant, Organic Forrest and Morrow Farm

AVOCADO

Why pay $16 for smashed avo on toast when you can make it for less than half the price at home? Local avos are in season now – there are plenty at the farmers markets, and you’ll only pay about $2-$3 for one. Alstonville farmers Stan and Rick Morrow have home grown avos at their stall at the Mullumbimby Farmers Market, as does Burringbar organic farmer Georgia Powell of Mt Chowan Organics Locally grown avocados also available at Jumping Red Ant and from Kate at the Organic Avocado. Serve with a slice of crusty local sourdough from Heart Bread  or Crabbes Creek Woodfired.

 

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