The newest addition to the Mullumbimby Farmers Market are fresh and sweet locally grown raspberries. Grown at Lindendale near Lismore by Tallogum Raspberries, they’re top quality berries that are sweet and delicious. Currently available at the Eden’s Landing stall in punnets and in $12 buckets.
If you want your macadamias guaranteed chemical free, then certified organic is the only way to go. The Organic Forrest stall at Mullumbimby Farmers Market, run by local organic farming stalwarts Dave and Sue Forrest, is now stocking 400g packets of certified organic nuts and 1 kg bulk lots. Organic macadamia butter is also available.
The hot humid weather in our part of the world can make it almost impossible to grow a leafy green like English spinach over the summer months. Luckily, local farmers produce some equally delicious and nutritious greens during summer months that are more than capable of taking spinach’s place. Try the Lagos spinach from Wiccawood Organics (boil for a minute or two then enjoy as you would spinach), and Kang Kong, or water spinach from Summit Organics, which is delicious in a stir fry or curry.
They may lack the flashy appeal of fruits like goji or acai berries, but apples are a fruit that truly deserve superfood status. Not only are they incredibly good for you (high in fibre, vitamin and antioxidants), they’re one of the most convenient on the go snacks around (no peeling or preparation required) are incredibly versatile in the kitchen (cakes, desserts, salads, relish, breakfast) – and they’re affordable. The new apple season has just begun at the local farmers markets, with some lovely crisp Royal Galas now available from Costanzo Apples and beautiful organic Royal Galas and Granny Smith’s from McMahon’s Organic Apples.
If you’ve travelled in South East Asia you’re likely to be familiar with the Jackfruit. It’s a very large spiky tropical fruit that, when ripe, tastes something like blend of apple, pineapple, mango, and banana. The green, unripe fruit has become very popular with vegans and vegetarians as a meat substitute – when cooked with some barbecue spices and barbecue sauce, it has a texture and flavour similar to pulled pork. Local grower John Picone (Picone Exotics) says it’s been a good jackfruit season and he will have plenty for the next few weeks at least. If you’re after a green fruit, let him know in advance.
It’s amazing how much of a difference fresh lime juice can make to a meal. A dash of lime juice on your Thai Green Curry or added to your guacamole, – it just takes food to the next level. Lime is great in drinks too – even tap water becomes something special with a dash of lime! With the local lemon season still a little way off, they also make a perfect lemon substitute in any recipe. And make sure you don’t waste the zest – grate it off before you cut the lime and then freeze it. Excellent in pasta, breadcrumbs or baked goods for some extra zing.
Grass fed beef
Byron Creek Farm is a small farm at Coopers Shoot near Byron Bay that uses regenerative farming methods and focuses on raising animals ethically. Andrew Cameron and Stuart Fox have been selling their pasture–raised chicken at the Mullumbimby Farmers Market for a year or so, and are now also offering 100 per cent grass fed beef in a range of cuts including T-bones, rump, and sausages. Andrew says that in contrast to most Australian beef cattle, which are raised on grass but then finished on grain, their cattle are grass fed and finished. He says grass-fed beef is a more environmentally friendly choice as grain takes a heavy toll on the land it is grown on and often requires heavy use of fertilisers and pesticides. Grass fed beef is also increasingly popular among the health conscious due to it’s superior nutrition.
You know its summer when the mangos are at the market. Bowen and Kensington Prides are the first to come into season and they will be followed by other varieties like the R2E2 and Nam Doc Mai. When choosing a mango, skin colour is not always the best indicator of ripeness. The best way to test if the fruit is ripe is by smell and/or giving it a gentle squeeze. If it gives a little, it’s ready. You can buy green mangos, just leave them in the fruit bowl at room temperature for several days and they will gradually ripen. Once ripe store in the fridge. Find mangos at the Everest Farm stall, Rainbow Fruit Flats, Picone Exotics Mt Chowan Organics and Jungle Juice.
The popular pink -skinned dragonfruit variety is now in season locally and will be appearing in flushes over the next few months, according to Mooball grower Nora Brils, of the market’s Jungle Juice stall. The pink-skinned variety comes with two flesh colours – white flesh with black seeds or the striking magenta coloured flesh with black seeds. Local grower John Picone, of Picone Exotics, has also developed his own variety – the Pink Ice – which has a gorgeous pink flesh. Both have a mild, delicate and refreshing taste that’s a little like a blend of kiwi, pear and watermelon. Dragonfruit look fantastic diced in a fruit salad, or simply chill, cut in half, add a squeeze of lime, scoop out the flesh and enjoy. John Picone also recommends cutting red dragonfruit into 1cm rounds and charring both sides on the barbecue. Add a squeeze of lime and serve.Find dragonfruit at Jungle Juice, Picone Exotics and Rainbow Fruit Flats.
Native to the local rainforest, finger limes are filled with tiny beads that create a citrus explosion when they pop in your mouth. Use them anywhere you would normally use lime or lemon – in drinks, on seafood, guacamole, or desserts.
Smaller than more commonly available figs, these dark red native figs are super sweet, caramel-y and delicious. As the name suggests, they come form the sandpaper fig tree, which is native to the east coast of Australia. Grower John Picone says the rough leaves mean picking the fruit can be quite difficult (and sometimes painful) but the flavour of fruit makes it worthwhile. Like other figs, sandpaper figs are delicious eaten fresh as they are, or with a soft cheese like brie. You can also use them in a salad – rocket, walnuts, goats’ cheese and figs is a classic combination. John’s other figs are also in season now, including the honey flavoured Napolitana.
The Mullumbimby Farmers Market has recently welcomed Damien Curtis and his stall, The Bay Smokehouse, to its line–up of stalls. Damien sells local, wild caught fish, which are smoked in his home-made smokehouse near Mullumbimby. Damien uses species high in Omega 3s, like tailor and mackerel, and the fish can be used in the same way as you would smoked salmon or trout. Damien also produces a deliciously addictive smoked fish rillettes (fish dip/spread) with organic raw cashew cream and smoked fish.
Bright yellow and shaped like a UFO, button squash are one of the most eye-catching summer vegetables. The classic way to cook them is to steam whole, then cut up and add seasonings, but there are lots of other ways of preparing them. The big ones are good sliced into a stir-fry, or you can stuff with onion, breadcrumbs or rice, cheese and bacon and bake. The little ones are especially good barbecued on skewers with other veggies. Available from Everest Farm and Morrow Farm.
Summer watermelon is still around at the markets. Chill and cut into slices for the kids, blend into a smoothie, or whiz it into some healthy home made ice blocks. For something a little more sophisticated, try watermelon in a salad – chop up into cubes and add cucumber, goats cheese or feta and mint and a vinegary dressing for the perfect accompaniment to seafood. Find watermelon at Everest Farm, and Morrow Farm.
Because it’s locally grown, the corn at the markets is super fresh, and full of the sugars that make it so sweet. Eat it the day you buy it for maximum sweetness. Find sweet corn at the Everest Farm stall, Morrow Farm and at the Bangalow Farm stall.
Fragrant summer basil is perfect in pesto, sprinkled fresh on pizza, or in salads. Look for fresh basil at The Gourmet Salad Hut..
Tomatoes are super sweet at the moment. Available from Coopers Shoot Tomatoes or Jumping Red Ant.
Organic Forrest has new season garlic available now, including Elephant or Russian Garlic and Italian Purple. Also check Picone Exotics and Summit Organics for locally grown garlic.
Delicious eaten fresh or stuffed and roasted. Capsicums available from Coopers Shoot Tomatoes, Jumping Red Ant, Morrow Farm and Everest Farm.
Jumping Red Ant and Everest Farm have sweet new season passionfruit.