In season: Summer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MELONS

Melon season has begun, with watermelon and rockmelon picked fresh from the Everest Farm at Eungella, near Murwillumbah and the Morrow Farm at Alstonville now available. Melons are ideal as a light breakfast or refreshing summer treat for the kids, and fantastic in summer salads. Combine chilled rockmelon with salad greens, red onion, pepitas and a vinaigrette or try a classic watermelon salad with feta and mint.

ZUCCHINI

One of the most versatile summer vegies, zucchini is good in almost anything  – from Thai curries to zucchini slice. Turn them into zoodles – a gluten free alternative to pasta noodles, or try zucchini lasagna using slices of zucchini instead of pasta sheets. Available from Jumping Red Ant and Everest Farm. 

CHILLIES

If the weather isn’t hot enough for you, there’s plenty of fresh local chillies around to help you get a sweat up at your next meal. They’re available in varying degrees of heat, from milder long chillies to fiery habaneros. Chilli fans will also enjoy The Spice Palace’s harissa pastes, made with home grown chillies from Rob Cullinan and Duska Jefed’s farm at The Pocket. The milder green harissa, flavoured with coriander and preserved lemon, is great as a marinade for fish or chicken or as a simple green curry base, while the slightly spicier red harissa is delicious as a rub on any meat, or cooked with the onions in a curry.

LYCHEES

Lychees are one of the great pleasures of summer. Their refreshing flavour and silky grape-like texture is just perfect on a hot day. Lychees are also delicious in desserts – try them fresh with ice cream or coconut ice cream, or in summer cocktails. Buy them while their skin is bright red and store in the fridge. Lychees are currently available at Jumping Red Ant, and  arealso due to arrive very shortly at the Bangalow Coffee stall, harvested fresh from Michelle and Andy Clarke’s farm at Nashua.

EGGPLANT

If you haven’t discovered eggplant, now’s the season. This super versatile vegetable is at its best in summer and is a great foundation for a vegetarian or vegan meal. Combine with zucchini, capsicum, tomatoes, onion and garlic for a healthy pasta sauce or use slices as an alternative to pasta sheets in lasagne. Roast and use as a pizza topping, add to curries or stir fries, or grill with a miso glaze for a tasty Japanese-style side dish. You’ll find a few different varieties at the farmers market, including the common deep purple variety, as well as white and purple striped, and the long eggplant –  also known as Japanese eggplant – which is available from Jumping Red Ant  And if you need an example of just how good eggplant can be, try the marinated and fermented eggplant from fermented food stall Suria Foods at New Brighton and Mullum Farmers Market. Yum.

GARLIC

Garlic is one of those staples you should always try and buy locally – imported garlic is cheap, but often bleached and sprayed with chemicals and will not have the same flavour. For some excellent locally grown garlic, try Organic Forrest and Summit Organics. Also look out for Picone Exotics’ exquisite fermented black garlic..

OYSTERS

Oyster fans are in luck this Christmas. Brunswick River oyster farmer Noel Baggaley, of Brunswick Seed Oysters, says it’s a great season for his sweet tasting Sydney Rock Oysters and he will have plenty of them all the way through to Christmas and beyond.

PASSIONFRUIT

 Local growers are picking lots of these sweet fruits now. Find passionfruit at Jumping Red Ant and Everest Farms.

SALAD GREENS

Summer time means salads brimming with lots of fresh leafy greens. The Gourmet Salad Hut have a huge range of greens available from their Burringbar farm,  including cos, oak and mignonette lettuce, rocket, Pak choy, and watercress, as well as fresh leafy herbs like basil. Teven grower Denise Latham  also has an excellent variety of lettuce and salad mixes available. To keep your leafy greens fresher longer, chop off any roots and store in an airtight bag or container in the fridge.

CUCUMBER

Crisp, cool and refreshing, cucumbers are a summer essential. Slice thinly into salads, cut into sticks and serve with dip, make a summer cucumber soup, create home made pickles or add a few strips to your gin and tonic. Find fresh local cucumbers at Coopers Shoot Tomatoes  Morrow Farm, Jumping Red Ant,  Everest Farm and Summit Organics.

CORN

The first pick of the season’s sweet corn has arrived at the markets. As soon as its picked, the sugars in sweet corn begin to convert to starch, so for maximum sweetness, eat on the day you buy. Find sweet corn at Everest Farm.

TOMATOES

The warmer weather has brought on a glut of tomatoes at Coopers Shoot Tomatoes, so it’s a great time to pick up a bargain on bulk lots and make into sauces. Cherries, Roma, gourmet truss and a variety of heirlooms available. Coopers Shoot is also harvesting cucumbers and eggplants.

FERMENTED FOODS

Mullumbimby Farmers Market has a new stall dedicated to gut-healthy fermented foods. Suria Foods owner, Katerina, grows all of her raw ingredients, and creates her ferments depending on what’s in season locally. Alongside traditional ferments like sauerkraut and kim-chi, you will find creations like fermented mushrooms, marinated eggplant and fermented Tokyo turnips with golden beet. Katerina also has a range of gut-healing juices (the juice left from the fermenting process) which is especially rich in beneficial bacteria.

HEMP HUMMUS

Middle Eastern food stall Baraka recently introduced a new line to its hummus range, blending hemp with its traditional hummus recipe to create Hemp Hummus. Rich in Omega 3 and 6, and in proteins, hemp is highly nutritious. Baraka owner Alan Schwarz says he uses a certified organic source of hemp blended with Baraka’s traditional hummus to create the earthy flavoured dip.

BASIL

It’s been too cool for basil for the past few months, but the recent warmer weather has seen Burringbar growers, the Gourmet Salad Hut, pick their first crop of the season. Beautiful with fresh Coopers Shoot Tomatoes, farmhouse mozzarella from Burringbar cheesemaker Deb Allard of Cheeses Loves You and a splash of Grumpy Grandma’s olive oil on a slice of local sourdough.

PAWPAW

The warmer weather has brought on a flush of pawpaw at local farms. Mt Chowan Organics and Everest Farm have been picking yellow and red paw paw that are sweet and ripe. Best cut in half and eaten with a squeeze of lemon or lime, or try a  pawpaw breakfast bowl. Chill a pawpaw, cut in half, scoop out the seeds and fill with yoghurt muesli, and fresh fruit like blueberries, bananas and strawberries.

SNAPPER

Considered one of the best eating fishes, snapper is a delicately flavoured fish that’s delicious baked whole, barbecued, grilled or fried. It matches particularly well with fresh Thai-style flavours like ginger, basil, and chilli or a macadamia pesto. Find fresh local snapper at JJ Seafood.

MUSHROOMS

The newest farmers to join the Mullumbimby Farmers Market are local mushroom growers, Shroom Brothers. Based at Eviron, in the Tweed Shire, Shroom Brothers 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 Brothers 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 Brothers 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.

BLUEBERRIES and STRAWBERRIES

 It’s prime blueberry time. Punnets and buckets of seconds available now from Blueberry Fields. Strawberries from Morrow Farm

 
 
 
 
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 a while 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.
 
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. Mullumbimby Farmers Market 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.

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