In season: October

BLACK SAPOTE

Who would have thought chocolate puddings grew on trees? On the Northern Rivers they do. Cut open a black sapote (which looks like a big green tomato from the outside) and you’ll find a fruit that really does look and tastes like chocolate pudding.  You’ll generally find them at the market green, but to enjoy them at their best, wait until the skin turns brown and the fruit feels mushy – you should be able to press the skin with your finger and leave an indent. Once they’re ready, serve them chilled with some yoghurt, cream or ice cream or use as a chocolate substitute in smoothies, cakes or desserts. Available from Jungle Juice and Picone Exotics.

CARROTS

The flavour and sweetness of a carrot from the farmers market is just so much better than anything you’ll find on a supermarket shelf. They’re fresher, and local farmers will often grow more unusual varieties that have been developed for flavour rather than transportability and shelf life. Summit Organics is currently harvesting some beautiful big, brightly coloured organic carrot bunches, grown in the rich soil on their Tyalgum Farm. Fresh carrots are also available from Morrow Farm and Everest Farm.

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.

TOP DIPS

The judges have given a big thumbs up to two local dip producers based at the farmers markets at the recent Sydney Royal Fine Food Awards. The Bay Smokehouse, received a Gold Medal for their Smoked Fish Rillettes, an addictive fish spread made with organic raw cashew cream and locally caught smoked fish, while Baraka Foods, won two Silvers for their Hummus with Chilli Harissa and Hummus with Za’atar Herb. All three award winning dips are available weekly at the market.

PAWPAW

The warmer weather has brought on a flush of pawpaw at local farms. Mt Chowan Organics and Everest Farm have been picking yellow 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.

 

PEACHES AND NECTARINES

You know summer is on its way when the stonefruit arrive at the market. The Honey Wagon has new season nectarines and peaches. Also at Neville Singh bananas and as Morrow Farm in coming weeks.

GARLIC

Mild flavoured new season garlic is now available from Wiccawood Organics and Organic Forrest

SEEDLINGS

Now is an excellent time to get your  summer crops in the ground, especially after the recent rain, Cucumbers, tomatoes, capsicum, corn, lettuce and melons can all be planted now.  Local seedling suppliers One Organic and Pam Morrow at Iona Herbs  have a variety of locally raised seedlings available, as well as seeds (Iona Herbs only), that are well adapted to local conditions and ready to thrive in your home garden.

SNAPPER

There’s a saying that when the wattle blooms, it’s snapper time, and according to Ballina fishers John and Julie Joblin, snapper season has indeed arrived. 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 and the berries are tasting great. Punnets and buckets of seconds available now from Blueberry Fields, and plenty of strawberries at Morrow Farm.

ROOT VEGGIES

Spring might be here 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.

 

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, 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 Mullumbimby Farmers Markets every Friday.
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.

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.

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.

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.

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. Serve with a slice of crusty local sourdough from Heart Bread  or Crabbes Creek Woodfired.

Also in season: bananas, potato, sweet potato, celery, rhubarb, radish,  shallots, turnips, papaya

 

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