In season now

Blueberries on the bushBlueberries

The popular Blueberry Fields stall has just returned to the market with beautiful new season Brooklet-grown blueberries. Get in early for the buckets of seconds as they always sell out quick.

Custard apples

These knobbly green fruit have a sweet, stewed apple-like taste that is lovely eaten as is, combined with yoghurt, as a topping for pancakes, or in smoothies. They can also be used to make a delicious ice cream. Myocum grower Glenyce Creighton  says the best custard apples are those that have smoothed out a little on the bottom. They’re ripe and ready to eat when they start to soften – a ripe custard apple will have a similar amount of give as a ripe avocado when it’s ready says Alstonville grower Kate Thompson of The Organic Avocado.

Cabbage

The ever-growing interest in gut health and fermented foods like sauerkraut has seen the humble cabbage enjoy a huge surge in popularity in recent years. Savoy, green, red and wombok (Chinese cabbage) can all be used in ferments, but they are also great shredded raw in salads, in coleslaw (red cabbages are particularly good for this), thrown into soups or stir fries or braised in butter as a delicious side. High in fibre and Vitamin C, they’re the perfect winter vegetable. Find locally grown cabbages at the Everest Farm stall.

Pecans pecans

Native to the Americas, pecan trees also do well in our local climate and there are quite a few growers in our area. Pecans are easy to crack – local organic grower Glenyce Creighton says a good technique is to put two nuts in your hand then squeeze them together. High in protein, unsaturated fats, Omega 3’s and fibre, pecans are a healthy snack that can be eaten straight from the shell and are also delicious in sweet treats like pecan pie and brownies. To store, put them in an airtight container in a cool place or freeze. Shelled and unshelled local pecans available from Glenyce Creighton, Morrow Farm and Nudgel Nuts.

Turmeric

Known as the miracle spice, turmeric has powerful antioxidant and anti inflammatory effects. Research points to it having benefits for digestion, arthritis and joint pain, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, heart health and even in fighting cancer. To effectively absorb the active ingredient, curcumin, turmeric needs to be eaten with some fat and a little black pepper – and that’s presumably why it has always been a staple in curries. One of the the most popular waysfresh turmeric to take turmeric at the moment, however, is the turmeric latte or ‘golden milk’, a hot drink made from turmeric blended with cow milk or non dairy milks like almond or soy milk. You can make it at home yourself with fresh turmeric – of which there is plenty available at the moment – or make it a little quicker and easier with one of the turmeric pastes available. Mullumbimby Farmers Market stallholder and organic turmeric grower Sue Mangan, of Organic Forrest, recently launched a turmeric paste that’s pre-blended with coconut oil and black pepper, so you just need to add hot milk and you’re done. Church Farm  has a similar paste, which also includes a little cinnamon. Church Farm and Summit Organics also make a cold-pressed turmeric juice.

Rhubarb

This bright pink vegetable adds a beautiful colour and flavour to cakes, crumbles and puddings. For a super simple winter dessert, cut stalks into 5 cm pieces, place in a baking tray, sprinkle with sugar and then cover with foil and roast for 20 minutes or so, giving it all a little stir once or twice t make sure the sugar is dissolved. Serve with vanilla ice cream.  Fresh rhubarb available from Summit Organics.

Choko

After falling off in popularity for a while, this old Aussie favourite has been enjoying a comeback in recent years. Chokos are great in chutneys, pickles and relishes or course, but they’re also nice in salads, fried in butter, in stews or stir-fried with Asian flavours.  Available from Glenyce Creighton.

Cauliflower

It seems barely a day goes by without someone finding a new use for cauliflower. Not content with the traditional cauli and cheese sauce, foodies have invented a whole host of new way to enjoy this versatile winter vegetable, including the popular whole roasted cauliflower – a dish said to be able to convert anyone to cauliflower.  There are a few variations, but the basic idea is to remove the leaves and trim the stem so it sits flat. You then spread some butter or olive oil, herbs and seasoning over the top and bake until tender. Cauliflower available from Jumping Red Ant and Everest Farm.

Freshly picked broccoliBroccoli

Eungella farmer Matt Everest has  started picking the first of the season’s s broccoli.  Highly nutritious and packed with Vitamin C, it should be one of your winter vegie staples. Lightly steamed with a little butter is a great way to eat it, but it’s just as delicious in stir-fries, soups and salads.

Honey, lemon, ginger and turmeric tea

When it comes to fighting colds and flu, Mullumbimby Farmers Market-goers swear by Organic Forrest’s organic honey, lemon, ginger and turmeric tea. Made with ingredients from Dave Forrest and Sue Mangan’s organic farm at Federal, it’s warming, soothing, anti-inflammatory and immune boosting.

Avocados on a treeAvocados

The first trickle of new season avocados started arriving at the markets a couple of months ago and the supply will be steady from now on. The local season runs roughly from April to October/November, so there will be plenty of these delicious fruit available as we move into winter. The first variety to make it to the markets are the buttery Fuerte, a great all round avocado that make fantastic guacamole. These will be followed by the Sharwil, Hass, and later on in the season, the Lamb Hass. Find avos at The Organic Avocado, Avocado Valley, Jumping Red Ant, Morrow Farm and Mt Chowan Organics.

Mandarins

One of the best things about the cooler months is the abundance of Vitamin C rich citrus that Mother Nature so conveniently provides.  Local farmers have some beautiful new season mandarins now – find them at Jungle Juice and  The Organic Avocado.

Lemons

Local lemons are just starting to ripen up now, so you’ll find lots at the markets over the next few months. They’re one of those essentials in the kitchen with endless uses – perfect in your guacamole, squeezed into to some hot water for a morning drink, with seafood, fried haloumi or mushrooms, in salad dressings, or in sweet cakes and biscuits, the list goes on. Lemons available from Neville Singh, Church Farm, Jungle Juice and Mt Chowan Organics.

Oysters

The recent floods affected the water quality of local rivers, which temporarily stopped oyster production for local grower Noel Baggaley, of Brunswick Seed Oysters. With things back to normal, Noel has returned to the markets with his fantastic Sydney Rock Oysters (and his delicious seafood chowder).

A basket of fresh red applesPears and apples

Lots of apples and pears available now. Find them at McMahon’s Organic Apples and Costanzo Apples.

Pumpkin

There’s plenty of pumpkin around  and now is a great time to enjoy it. Try dicing, roasting and adding to a salad, warming up the cooler evenings with some pumpkin soup, or even roasting, mashing and then spreading on toast with ricotta for a hearty breakfast. Don’t waste the seeds either – clean, rinse then roast with a little olive oil and salt for a yummy nutritious snack or a sprinkle for your salads. Pumpkin available from Everest Farms, Neville Singh, Summit Organics  and Morrow Farm.

New season ginger

Soft, juicy, with a pale skin, pinkish hues and a mild flavour, new season ginger is the best kind of ginger there is. It’s ideal for cooking, pickling and juicing. The first of this year’s ginger crop is being harvested, look out for it at Organic Forrest, Church Farm and Summit Organics.

Bone Broth

As the days get cooler, it’s time for warming, comfort foods like soups and casseroles, and the perfect base for these is mineral-rich bone broth. Angela Dekker of Soufull Broths, who creates her bone broths from local grass-fed beef from Hayters Hill and local chicken,  says broth has a whole host of health benefits, including helping to heal leaky gut and inflammation in the body, improve joint health and even reduce cellulite. Warm bone broth can also be enjoyed as is – Angela recommends it as a nourishing and healthy alternative to your morning cup of coffee.

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