Summer is just around the corner – and with the warmer weather about to hit, so to is the stonefruit season with juicy peaches and nectarines all hitting the shelves with the latest arrival .
Riverland grown stone fruit has strengthened this week with light supplies of yellow flesh Nectarines and Peaches in market. Supplies will continue to increase as the season gets underway.
With the annual Cherry Ball at the end of the month, we have also seen the first local season, Riverland cherries come into season. Adelaide Hills cherries will be a few weeks away, and provided the weather stays mild we can expect to see a great crop – fingers crossed. Local Adelaide Hills cherries are the pick of the South Australian season, with the cool nights, mild rainfall and specific varieties that are grown in the region having great taste and sweetness.
“While these are in season, they are a must for seasonal platters.”
The last few weeks have been glorious with ‘oh, so seasonal’ mangoes coming from the Northern Territory. Northern Territory has some of the best tasting mangoes with our favourite the Kensington Pride (always the first variety to come into season). Whilst the Kensington Pride doesn’t have as showier a skin as some of the newer hybrids, it makes up for it in the sweetness of its flesh which is less stringy than other varieties.
While we have seen the first flush of mangoes come into season, expect prices to lift for a short time as we transition to new growing regions. This shortage in produce will fix itself in the coming weeks as Queensland mangoes kick off their season and once again we have a flourish of mangoes available to store.
Good supplies of Australian grown Blueberries and lighter supplies of Raspberries remain on offer. South Australian grown quickly strawberries are becoming more available as their season strengthens. You will not find better strawberries available than when the local season starts. The Adelaide Hills is our premier growing region for strawberries, with the cool Spring nights and warmer days providing great tasting fruit. It is a great time to support our Strawberry growers who had a catastrophic 2018 season (following on from the needle in the fruit debacle). It would be great if, as a whole, Australia can show their support for strawberry growers – particularly as we head into the South Australian season – by adding more strawberries to the menu. I know we’ll be serving up strawberry platters, strawberry salads and topping every drink with a strawberry – cheers.
Sadly the Australian Navel season has finished along with the last of the blood oranges (we hope you all managed to squeeze in a special blood orange G&T to farewell the season).
However, as one line finishes – a new one begins with Riverland grown Valencia oranges now available.
Now is the time to add watermelon to the menu. The South Australian season is just starting and the timing couldn’t be better – because there’s no better way to refresh than with a cool watermelon spritzer.
Local season watermelons have great colour and a firm flesh with crunch and flavour. Being locally grown you will find produce is the freshest – and best value – all year. As the weather continues to warm up, the fruits flavour will only increase and prices will drop as more produce comes into season.
Now is a great time to start adding watermelon everything to the menu in celebrating this great, fruit refresher.
Adelaide Hills rhubarb is still in season. Local rhubarb is far superior to varieties grown interstate with a sweeter taste and better quality stalks. It is the varietal pick of the season and worth adding to the menu.
The asparagus season is looking strong. As expected the price has suddenly dropped with the season now in full swing. Asparagus should remain well priced for the rest of the season and a great line for Spring breakfasts or as a complement to salmon dishes.
If you’ve been thinking about adding Australian Natives to your menu now is possibly the perfect timing. Varieties like Crystal Ice Plant, Karkala and Warrigal Greens are absolutely thriving at the moment, and make for an interesting addition to the menu.
Warrigal Greens large, lush leaves can be used instead of Spinach – with the leaves treated in much the same way. Warrigal Greens are great in Quiches, with pasta, stir fries or served as a steamed vegetable.
Karkala has a juicy, sausage shaped leaf which is harvested on a trailing stem. Karkala is perfect in soups, stir-fries and pickles.
Crystal Ice Plant is an annual ground cover with huge succulent leaves. Each leaf has glistening, slightly salty tasting bubbles on the underside of the leaves and stems. In Summer, the leaves turn to a small grey form with attractive pink flower buds and white flowers. Crystal Ice Plant makes a fabulous, edible display on a platter as well as a spectacular table talking point.
“All our natives are sustainably cultivated and HACCP certified so you are guaranteed consistent, quality of produce.”
Flat Continental Beans
Spring is the season for beans – and for something different there’s always your flat continental beans. Also called a ‘flat bean’ they are an elegant, elongated flattened bean (that can be up to 20cms long and 2 -3cms wide) with a pale olive green colour. Use these whole or cut into segments before beans fully develop.
New spring crops are in for all our favourite root vegetable and cruciferous lines including beetroots, coloured radishes and baby carrots.
Local, South Australian celeriac is still in market and makes a great ‘Spring’ side owing to it’s fresh apple like notes. Celeriac, also called turnip-rooted celery or celery root, is a variety of celery cultivated purely for its edible root, hypocotyl and shoots. Celeriac has a particularly gnarled looking appearance and is brownish white in colour. Otherwise the leaves and stalks of a celeriac are similar to celery, although a little darker in colour.
“Celeriac makes a great mash or puree, that complements red meat.”
There is no better way to create a unique salad than playing around with Fennel. Fennel is still in season and adds plenty of flavour to a dish owing to it’s strong aniseed aroma and taste. Fennel is great simply sliced and chargrilled at the base complementing the saltiness from kalamata olives, parsley, basil, garlic and even citrus. Fennel is perfect paried with salty fish (a typical Sicilian favourite).