In season: October


Who would have though 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.


Often found growing along waterways and in the sand near beaches, Warrigal Greens is fantastic native spinach that’s similar to European spinach in appearance and taste. It’s highly nutritious, and was eaten by the early Australia explorer s and settlers to prevent scurvy thanks to its high levels of Vitamin C. To use, blanch first in boiling water then squeeze out the excess water and use them wherever you would use spinach – in cannelloni, quiche, frittata, omelette or stir-fry. Find Warrigal Greens at Mullumbimby Farmers Market’s native food stalls, Playing With Fire.


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.


Mulberries always seem to bring back memories of childhood – climbing up the neighbourhood tree, feasting on the fruit and getting your face and clothes covered in the purple juice. It’s a bumper season for these sweet berries this year, and if you don’t have your own tree or one in your street, the next best thing is a punnet fresh from the farmers market. Look for them at Glenyce Creighton’s stall (next to Nev Singh bananas). Delicious as they are, or served with cream, ice cream or crème fraiche.


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.


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.


Also known as spring roses, and often used in wedding bouquets, ranunculus almost look too perfect to be real. Duranbah vegetable and flower growers Jumping Red Ant  have ranunculus in a variety of colours including pinks, yellows and reds, along with their gerberas and roses. Other farmers picking spring blooms include Myocum farmer Glenyce Creighton, who has bright bold sunflowers and smaller locally grown flower arrangements, while Organic Forrest and Denise Latham have edible mixes that include nasturtium, violas and pansies – beautiful as a garnish on a cake or sprinkled in a salad.


Local stonefruit aren’t usually ready to harvest until a bit closer to summer, but this year St Helena banana farmer Neville Singh has a small pick of sweet early season peaches. The Honey Wagon also has nectarines now. The bulk of the stonefruit should be arriving in about four weeks time.


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


Now is an excellent time to get your spring and 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.


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.


Also known a Chinese cabbage, Wombok is one of the most versatile in the cabbage family. It has a sweet mild flavour and a juicy, crunchy texture can be used anywhere as a substitute for lettuce, including in the Chinese dish San Choy Bau. It can be used to wrap other foods during steaming, and is the key ingredient in the Korean fermented pickle, kim chi. Find it at Organic Forrest.


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.


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.


 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.


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.

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.
Highly nutritious leafy greens including spinach, silverbeet, kale, broccoli, lettuce and other leafy greens are at their peak now and available fresh each week.
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.
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.


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 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.


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.


Nothing compares to the taste of a sweet, plump juicy pea straight from its pod. Use fresh peas in pasta and rice dishes, soups, or steam lightly and serve with butter and salt and pepper – much better than the frozen ones! If you can’t be bothered with shelling, try snow peas, which are also in season – delicious as a side, in stir fries, or raw in salads. They’re also great for kids’ lunchboxes. The sweetest of all the peas – the sugar snap – will also be available at the markets in coming weeks. Look for fresh peas at Everest Farm, Jumping Red Ant, Organic Forrest and Morrow Farm


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.


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