Heatwave proves a double-edged sword
WHILE the unusual spring heat has brought on an abundance of fruit and vegetables into the Brisbane Produce Market, it has also taken its toll on the quality and price of some fresh produce lines.
In the vegetable aisle, pick up some cheap to reasonably priced Asian vegetables, Australian asparagus, beetroot, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, eggplant, fennel, leeks, snow peas, silverbeet, sweet corn, mushrooms, onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes and pumpkin.
Broccoli, capsicum and celery are still value-for-money but prices have crept higher compared to last week’s and are expected to rise further.
The heat has had an effect on beans, brussels sprouts and zucchini, with shorter stocks pushing them into the expensive range.
To choose the best zucchini, look for ones that are smaller in size, with the more vibrant colour indicating the greater flavour. Store zucchinis in a paper bag in the refrigerator crisper and never place them in plastic bags which trap too much moisture and can make them slimy.
The heat has meant tomatoes are cheap and plentiful but cucumbers and basil have not performed as well with the hotter temperatures, reducing their supply and lifting their price.
For salad lovers, be sure to add reasonably priced lettuce, mixed leaf salad and eshallots.
Hass avocados from Western Australia and New Zealand are on Your Local Fruit Shop shelves but their high demand has firmed prices.
In the fruit aisle, most Queensland strawberries are cheap and of mixed quality but are being supplemented by the first of the Stanthorpe grown fruit, with top quality punnets at firm prices.
Things are getting colourful with the Australian low chill stonefruit selling at expensive rates for the larger fruit and more value-for-money for the average sized new season offerings.
Mangoes are also a great eye and scent attraction but they have firmed in price this week with less supply from the Northern Territory.
The best buys are blueberries, blood oranges, kiwifruit, honeydew, pineapples and pawpaw.
Passionfruit has risen in price and is considered expensive, as are limes which are hard to get at this time of year.
Bananas are selling at a firmer price but are still affordable.
You can expect to pay more than usual for apples, raspberries, end of season mandarins, navel oranges, USA grown grapes, rockmelon and watermelon.