Georgica farmer Kenrick Riley, of Wiccawood Farm, always has something new and unusual at his stall, and the vegetable catching our attention at the moment is his jicama. Also known as Mexican Yam bean, this root vegetable looks a little like a turnip or swede, but it has a sweet juicy, crisp flesh, with a texture and flavour a little like Nashi pear. It’s lovely eaten raw – prepare by removing all skin (this is important as the skin contains an organic toxin), then grating into salads or coleslaw, adding to stir fries, or enjoying as is. You can also do as the Mexicans do – cut your jicama into sticks then coat in lime juice, chilli and salt for a tasty snack. Health wise, jicama is also excellent for your gut – it contains prebiotic fibre that helps promote the growth good bacteria. It is also a good source of Vitamin C.
The first trickle of new season avocados started arriving at the markets a few weeks ago and the supply will be increasing steadily 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. Organic grower Kate Thompson, of popular stall, The Organic Avocado, returned to markets a few weeks ago, and Burringbar farmer Tony Hines, of Avocado Valley should be back soon. Other avocado growers include Jumping Red Ant, Morrow Farm and Mt Chowan Organics.
One of the best things about the cooler months is the abundance of Vitamin C rich citrus that Mother Nature so conveniently provides. The limes and lemons have already arrived at the markets and now the mandarins are in season too. Local farmers have some beautiful new season organic Imperial mandarins now – find them at Jungle Juice and The Organic Avocado.
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, we 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.
The cooler weather also signals the start of the citrus season. 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 pick-me-up, 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.
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).
Pears and apples
Lots of apples and pears available now. Find them at McMahon’s Organic Apples and Costanzo Apples.
New season pumpkin is everywhere 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.
The beautifully coloured crimson ‘fruits’ of the rosella (actually the calyx of the rosella plant) can be used to make a delicious jam. They are also great as a filling for pies, in cordials or syrups, as a tea, or in chutneys. They are just coming into season now, find them at Glenyce Creighton’s stall or bush food stall Playing With Fire.
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.
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 and Summit Organics..
Finger Limes are actually native to the Northern Rivers area, where they once grew in the Big Scrub rainforest. Known as the caviar of the citrus world, the cigar-shaped fruit is filled with tiny beads that create a fresh lime explosion in your mouth. Perfect with prawns and other seafood or in a cool drink on a hot summers day. Rebecca Barnes of native food stall, Playing With Fire has new season fruit now.