Heat hits fresh produce prices hard
AUSTRALIA'S unrelenting heat in the growing regions can expect to have continued impact on the price of fresh produce for some time although there is still plenty of variety for those looking for quality.
The best buys are good quality Asian vegetables, carrots, celery, zucchini, onions and both sweet corn and sweet potatoe that have reduced to reasonable prices.
Pumpkin is also value for money with the exception of the nutty flavoured but firmly priced kent variety that is recognisable by its grey/green skinned, mottled with yellow and brown patches.
Expect to pay firm prices for asparagus, beans, beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, capsicum, eggplant, fennel, leeks, parsnips, snow peas, silverbeet and squash. Potatoes are still firming in price and will cost more in the days to come.
The most expensive vegetables on the dinner table are brussels sprouts, cauliflower and mushrooms.
In the salad aisle, the tomatoes have risen to expensive prices and command top dollar, as do avocados and lettuce.
Eshallots are firm but items such as mixed salad leaves, cucumber and all herbs are still value for money.
In the fruit section, look for limes, grapes, Italian kiwifruit, all melons, pineapples and plums for the best taste and price.
Gala apples are in season and pink ladies are finishing, keeping the price of apples firm.
You will also pay firm prices for bananas, raspberries, blueberries, lemons, figs, end of season mangoes, peaches, nectarines and New Zealand apricots.
If you feel like an orange, then you can choose from firmly priced Egyptian or expensive US offerings, with Egyptian mandarins also at a firm price. Valencia oranges are Australian but firmly priced.
Strawberries are expensive and growers are predicting higher prices later with a lack of rain causing concern.
The medium to large sized green packham pears are finishing their season and being replaced by new season Williams Bon Chretien, or just "williams”, which are great for snacking, poaching, baking and slicing in salads but expect to pay firm to expensive prices for top quality.
Great eating passionfruit and pawpaw are also expensive.