Warm days spur on abundance of food
THERE is an abundance of fresh produce available this week with the cool nights and warm days in the growing regions accelerating fruit and vegetable growth.
The best priced and quality vegetables for this week include Asian vegetables, beans, beetroot, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, celery, field grown eggplant, fennel, leeks, snow peas, silverbeet, sweet corn, zucchini, onions, potatoes and pumpkin.
Capsicum has firmed in price but is still considered value for money.
You will find the pick of the bunch have firm, deeply coloured and glossy skins.
They store best in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped in a plastic bag.
Sweet potatoes have inched up in price joining hydroponically-grown eggplant, parsnips, squash, mushrooms and Peruvian grown asparagus on the shelves with a firm price tag.
Warmer days have made eating salads a viable family mealtime option with top quality tomatoes, lettuce, mixed leaf salad, cucumber and most herbs at reasonable prices.
Be prepared to pay firm prices for what Australian avocados call the healthy superfood, making sure that you select ones ready to eat by gently pressing the top to test for their ripeness.
The pebbly hass avocado will change from olive green to purplish black as it ripens but green skinned varieties, such as the smooth skinned shepard, will stay green.
Strawberries and pineapples are loving the warmer winter weather with an abundance being picked, keeping prices reasonable, although some pineapples are struggling with quality.
Other great tasting and reasonably priced fruits include blueberries, lemons, mandarins, cara cara and blood oranges, kiwifruit, rockmelon, watermelon, passionfruit and pawpaw.
The best quality apples, bananas, raspberries, limes and navel oranges are firmly priced, as are the last of the Australian grapes.
Grapes grown in the USA are available in red and green varieties but are expensive.
Other USA produce, including cherries and stonefruit, are also expensive along with Mexican mangoes with their presence on the shelves offering fruit-lovers the opportunity to enjoy mangoes all year round, particularly when the Australian produce is out of season.