Market Report: Spuds and onions expensive to buy

UNSEASONAL rains in the tropical north, west and southern harvest regions of Australia has forced fluctuations on some fresh produce prices with harvest equipment and transport vehicles caught in the bog.

Potatoes and onions remain at record high wholesale prices although many local fruit shops are not raising the prices in store, concerned for customers baulking at buying fresh produce overall.

Squash and premium eggplants are also expensive but there is plenty of less costly vegetable on the shelves.

New season asparagus is of a reasonable price with the spears at their best from now until March of next year. Freshly harvested asparagus is similar to cut flowers and needs to be kept in cool, humid conditions. In ideal growing conditions, they can grow 1-2cm per hour.

Pumpkin, snow peas and mushrooms are at bargain prices while Asian vegetables, beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, carrots (with the exception of firmly priced large ones), field eggplants, fennel, leeks, silverbeet, sweet corn and zucchini are reasonable.

Beans are reasonable to firm in price and brussels sprouts are creeping up in price cost you a bit more.

Cauliflower, capsicum, sweet potatoes and parsnips are firmly priced, although larger parsnips are cheaper.

Expect some cheap avocados and lettuce in the salad aisle.

Tomatoes have fluctuated but are edging upwards to a firm price this week, although roma tomatoes are short in supply and expensive.

Throw some value-for-money mixed leaf salad, eshallots, herbs and continental cucumbers in the salad bowl but be prepared to pay a firm price for Lebanese cucumbers.

Strawberries are cheap as a glut of late Queensland varieties has occurred with new season Western Australian punnets arriving.

The best fruit bargains are blueberries, kiwifruit and pineapples. Some poorer quality end of season mandarins are also cheap but the best fruit is firmly priced.

You will pay firmer prices for apples, navel and Valencia oranges, imported grapes, watermelon, honey dew, pears and some rockmelon, which are fluctuating in price.

Bananas are expensive, as are raspberries, lemons, limes, figs, passionfruit and imported stone fruit.

Yellow pawpaw is expensive but the great tasting red variety, also known as papaya, is reasonably priced.

Topics:  fruit and vegetables, rocklea markets, smart shopper

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