Top shelf vegetables and salad aplenty
WINTER is the best time to pick up top shelf and affordable vegetable and salad items with an abundance from Australia's harvest regions arriving at the Brisbane Produce Market.
Look for top quality Asian vegetables, beans, beetroot, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, capsicum, carrots, celery, snow peas, silverbeet, sweet corn, zucchini, onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes and pumpkin, all Australian grown and at really great prices.
Field grown eggplants are also at bargain prices but be prepared to pay more for the glamour hydroponic offerings with their high gloss, smooth and shiny skin.
The smallest eggplant are usually the youngest fruit so sweeter and more tender than the larger, heavier ones.
Expect to pay firm prices for fennel, leeks, parsnips, squash, Peruvian asparagus and mushrooms.
Queensland winters are the best time for great tasting salads with tomatoes, lettuce, mixed leaf salad, cucumber, eshallots and most herbs all eating well and at reasonable prices.
Basil is in short supply and will cost you more if you need some.
Like most herbs, it needs to be used as soon as possible and will last between two to four days if looked after.
The growing popularity of avocados has them leaving the shelves faster than other salad items, with green skinned fuerte and pebbly skinned hass varieties both very firmly priced.
Strawberries and blueberries are in abundance, they are reasonably priced and eating well, although you will pay more for their highly fragile and perishable berry cousin, raspberries.
Other great buys include New Zealand kiwifruit, watermelon, honey dew, passionfruit and also pawpaw.
In the citrus category, lemons, mandarins, richly red coloured blood and cara cara oranges and some navels are reasonably priced but you will pay top dollar for the South Australian navels, which are considered glamour fruit and are eating very well.
Limes are quite firmly priced.
Apples, bananas, end of season grapes, figs, rockmelon, pears and pineapples have all firmed in price.
The most expensive fruit includes Mexican mangoes and USA grown cherries and stonefruit.
Those who enjoy something different can still find plenty of dragon fruit, carambola (star fruit), rambutans, custard apples, black sapote (chocolate pudding fruit), kumquats, chestnuts and New Zealand persimmons at your local fruit shop.