Fresh Fruit: Rocklea Markets

For those of us who remember persimmons from a time ago, they were grown in many backyards and had to be near overripe before they would reveal that great persimmon taste - but get them too early and there was an astringent mouthful of fuzz left on your taste buds. Today's varieties are the non-astringent. Completely different and crunchy, so if you haven't tried one for a while, it's the season to give it a go again. Your tongue is safe!

The continued heat in the growing regions may be keeping some fresh produce stocks shorter and firmly priced this week but there are still bargains to be found in your local fruit shop.

Beans and pumpkin are of good quality, plentiful and cheap for the cost conscious.

Expect to pay reasonable prices for Asian vegetables, beetroot, carrot, celery, eggplant, fennel, snow peas, silverbeet, sweet corn, zucchini, mushrooms, onions, potatoes and sweet potatoes.

However, harvests of cabbage, cauliflower, fennel, leeks and squash are firming their price tag while brussels sprouts, broccoli, capsicum and parsnips are expensive.

The warm weather is perfect for serving salads, with tomatoes, mixed salad leaf, cucumbers, eshallots and all herbs of quality and of a reasonable price.

There are exceptions, with avocados remaining firm in price. Most lettuce varieties are also firm with the hotter days effecting the crop. Select fresh looking lettuce which are heavy for their size. It should have a firm heart and crisp leaves.

In the fruit section, Australian grapes are eating well but are firmly priced. You can also expect to pay firm prices for quality apples, raspberries and blueberries, figs, end of season mango varieties, pears, passionfruit and pawpaw.

Limes are cheap. Select ones that are firm, evenly coloured, glossy, and heavy for their size.

There are still quality value-for-money bananas, strawberries, valencia oranges, kiwifruit, rockmelon, watermelon, pineapples and end of season stonefruit on the shelves.

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