Watermelon recipes

Watermelon Recipes

Here is a creative idea for watermelon a Birthday Cake from Frances in South Turramurra

Birthday cake watermelon from Frances South Turramurra

Recipes for watermelon

  • Watermelon Dippers a treat for kids
  • Watermelon & Prosciutto Salad with Honey Vinaigrette
  • Watermelon, Basil, & Mozzarella Salad with Balsamic Syrup
  • Watermelon Smoothie

Watermelon Dippers

 

Watermelon Dippers
 
This Fresh Dip with a Hint of Sweetness Makes a Treat Kids Will Love
Author:
Recipe type: Snack
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 225g sour cream
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • watermelon sticks or small wedges
Instructions
  1. Blend together the sour cream, sugar and vanilla in a small serving bowl.
  2. Use as a dip for the watermelon.

Watermelon & Prosciutto Salad with Honey Vinaigrette

Watermelon & Prosciutto Salad with Honey Vinaigrette
 
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 3 cups cubed watermelon
  • ¼ pound prosciutto, sliced very thin and cut into strips
  • 115g goat cheese or Feta, crumbled
  • 3 tbs honey
  • 2 tbs Champagne vinegar or white vinegar
  • 1 tbs canola oil or other neutral flavoured vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, toss together the watermelon, prosciutto, and cheese. Place individual servings onto chilled salad plates.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, vinegar, and oil. Drizzle a tablespoon or two over each salad serving. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on top of each salad.

Watermelon, Basil, & Mozzarella Salad with Balsamic Syrup

 

Watermelon, Basil, & Mozzarella Salad with Balsamic Syrup
 
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Ingredients
  • 4 cups watermelon cubes
  • 500gms fresh mozzarella balls
  • 2 tbs fresh basil, minced
  • 2 cups balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. In a small pot, bring the balsamic vinegar to a boil. Continue to boil until it has reduced to about ½ cup and has a syrup like consistency. Set aside and allow to completely cool. If you have time, you can make the balsamic syrup ahead of time and refrigerate it for later.
  2. In a large bowl, gently toss together the watermelon, basil, and mozzarella. If you are using the larger size mozzarella balls, first cut them into bite-size pieces.
  3. Put servings of the salad onto chilled plates. Drizzle with the balsamic syrup. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on top of each salad.

 

Watermelon Smoothie

Watermelon Smoothie
 
Author:
Recipe type: Smoothie
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 cups seeded watermelon chunks
  • 1 cup cracked ice
  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • 1-2 tbsp sugar
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ⅛ tsp almond extract
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in blender container. Blend until smooth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Birds’ Wherrol Flat mandies

The Birds’ Wherrol Flat mandies

Mandarins

Graeme and Rozann Bird live a few clicks down Little Run Rd – and have been for some 30 years.  Rozann makes a mean homebrew craft beer.  After winning the local beer-making competition 2 years in a row, she’s holding back a bit to give the other talents in the valley a chance to shine.

 

Mandarin farm in Wherrol Flat

A few years ago, they planted some 30-odd mandarin trees.  Nothing unusual about that, as almost everyone in Wherrol Flat grows some citrus or kiwi or passionfruit or pumpkin or… well anything, really.  Because that seems to be the nature of the place: anything you throw into the soil seems to grow and thrive.

Graeme picking mandarins in Wherrol Flat

It’s just that the Birds’ mandies have this je ne sais qua – sweetness with a hint of mint, and some spice, and a whole lot of other flavours that are difficult to place – but they combine to give it a beautiful flavour.  It’s in the soil, the air or the water.  Or perhaps in all 3.

 

 

Mandarins in Wherrol FlatThey managed to pick about 150kg of ripe fruit, so we just hope that will last us till the end of the week.  Luckily, we’re making another commute next weekand the sunny weather holds promise for more mandies.

Pineapple & Red Cabbage recipes

Pineapple and red cabbage

Pineapple & Red Cabbage recipes

Locally grown red cabbage in Horsley park teamed up with pineapple from Queensland.

Here are some recipes that are great for summer.

  • Red Cabbage Slaw with pineapple
  • Fish tacos with spicy pineapple salsa and red cabbage slaw
  • Stir Fry Red cabbage Salad
  • Sri Lankan Savoury Red Cabbage & Pineapple Curry

 

Red Cabbage Slaw with pineapple

Red Cabbage Slaw with pineapple
 
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • For Slaw:
  • ½ red cabbage, shred
  • ½ pineapple, chop
  • 1 onion, thinly slice longwise
  • 2 carrots, shred
  • Fresh herb like cilantro, basil or English Parsley, finely chopped
  • For Dressing:
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • ⅓ cup red or white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbs orange or apple juice
  • 1 to 2 chilli, deseed (use gloves as the seeds burn) and chop. Try hot green or red long.
  • 1 tsp Hidden Valley honey
  • ¼ tsp cumin seeds, toast up in a pan then crush
  • Pinch of salt to taste
Instructions
  1. In a put in a bowl slaw ingredients and mix.
  2. In a bottle put in dressing and shake. Then pour over slaw and toss through.
  3. Cover with bees wax cover or lid and into fridge for 4 hours. Serve.

Fish tacos with spicy pineapple salsa and red cabbage slaw
Fish tacos with spicy pineapple salsa and red cabbage slaw
 
Author:
Recipe type: Tacos
Ingredients
  • 8 corn tortillas, warmed.
  • Red cabbage slaw (see recipe below)
  • Spicy pineapple salsa (see recipe below)
  • 1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and sliced
  • 4 pieces mild white fish
  • For red cabbage slaw:
  • ½ red cabbage, finely sliced
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves
  • ⅓ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbs honey
  • 2 tbs lemon or lime juice
  • 2 tbs canola oil
  • For spicy pineapple salsa
  • ½ pineapple chopped and left in its own juice
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves, lightly packed
  • 2 tbs fresh lemon or lime juice
  • 3 tbs rice wine vinegar
  • Any hot sauce, to taste (optional)
Instructions
  1. Coat fish in a little oil. Season with salt, pepper, paprika and cayenne, to taste. Just before you are ready to eat, grill the fish for about 8 minutes until just cooked.
  2. To make Red Cabbage Slaw:
  3. Place sliced cabbage, cilantro leaves and sliced red onion in a large bowl. Mix vinegar, honey and lime juice in a small bowl. While whisking quickly, add canola oil to vinegar mixture. Add to coleslaw and mix thoroughly. Spicy pineapple salsa – this recipe calls for more than you’ll need for the tacos. The rest makes a refreshing tropical dip when served with tortilla chips.
  4. To make Spicy pineapple salsa:
  5. Place all ingredients in food processor and blend.
  6. Serve fish with warmed tortillas, pineapple salsa, avocado slices and red cabbage slaw.

Stir Fry Red cabbage Salad
Stir Fry Red cabbage Salad
 
Author:
Recipe type: Stir Fry
Ingredients
  • ½ Red cabbage, finely sliced
  • ¼ red capsicum, finely chopped
  • ¼ green capsicum ,finely chopped
  • 1 carrot shredded
  • 1 zucchini shredded (optional)
  • 1 green leaf, finely shredded (optional) This can be anything like Chinese Broccoli, spinach, silverbeet.
  • 3 shallots, chopped
  • ½ pineapple chopped.
  • To make dressing:
  • 2 tbs Ketjap Manis (sweet soy sauce)
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp raw sugar (or honey)
Instructions
  1. Place dressing in a jar and shake. Toss all the above ingredients and dressing in a large bowl.
  2. Place on onto BBQ plate and keep tossing until cooked to preference (5-10 min). Alternatively, can be cooked in a wok.

Sri Lankan Savoury Red Cabbage & Pineapple Curry
Sri Lankan Savoury Red Cabbage & Pineapple Curry
 
Author:
Recipe type: Curry
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 – 2 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 onion, diced
  • ½ red cabbage, diced
  • 2 cups of fresh pineapple, diced
  • 4 tbs curry powder
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 - 2 tins low-fat coconut milk
  • 2 tbs sunflower oil
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 1tbs salt
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a pan or big pot and gently roast garlic, cinnamon stick, chopped onion 5 minutes. Add diced pineapple and sear for 1 minute.
  2. Add salt, curry powder, mustard seed and sugar. Add red cabbage then reduce heat and gently cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add coconut milk and heat until boiling. Serve with rice and/or Indian Naan bread and vegetables.

 

 

 

What is a serve of fruit & vegetables?

 What is a serve of fruit & vegetables?

We know the benefits of eating lots of fruit & vegetables. If you wish to review these read the full article. This discussion is more about why it is so hard to meet, for the majority of Australians, the minimum requirement and what we can do individually to encourage a greater uptake.

Did you know that in Australia 90% of women and 96% of men don’t eat enough vegetables? It takes time to collate results from National surveys so these results apply now. A survey from 2014-2015  shows that the uptake of fruit & vegetables is worsening.

What we should be eating as a minimum per day:

2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of Vegetables

Note  – A Serve = Fruit  1 medium piece 150gms and Vegetables half a cup of cooked vegetables or cup salad.

BUT in reality….

What we are eating  – National average:

MEN          1.6 serves of fruit

2.3 serves of vegetables

WOMEN   1.8 serves of fruit

2.5 serves of vegetables.

What does 1 Serve look like?

Fruit serves

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vegetable serves

Many go for high energy foods because they are filling. Calories are energy. These high energy foods – takeaway and empty calorie sweet foods are easy for weight gain. Rather than select fruit and vegetables which have a high nutritional value but mostly low in energy content. Lots of greens have a high nutritional value and low in in calories. Corn is higher in calories as it has a higher natural sugar content.

What are some of the issues we know about surrounding reduced fruit veg intake?

****   We think the major issue is understanding what a SERVE is and realizing we are, many of us, under-eating vegetables.

  • Limited access as grocers close down
  • Convenience – purchasing prepared high energy foods with little nutritional content.
  • Having limited knowledge of food and nutrition/cooking skills

All about Choice

Are you the ‘Food Gatekeeper’? The person who does the shopping and is the controller of food choice in your home.

Role models are important. Here are some comments made by Harvest Hub members over the years – thanks for sharing your thoughts.

“My Parents taught me good food choices when I was a child.”

“I don’t spend much on seeing the doctor as I eat well and exercise regularly. I spend the money I save on good food.”

“We always helped prepare meals with the family. I learnt new recipes with my Mum and Dad had some favourites too.”

“I thought I would leave home if broccoli was presented one more time. But Mum kept it up and when I discovered I could make a forest with the broccoli trees, carrots and stones with my corn I enjoyed eating my forest. This lead to making funny faces on my plate – creative dinnertime.”

These conversations about food and what it means to each of us show different aspects on how we all can make a difference in our family and circle of friends. Simple having friends over and introducing them to a new vegetable – maybe getting one extra to let them take it home and try it.

A great suggestion: Create a Food Map – Kids can pin the name of the vegetable or picture on the board  – ‘Where my food comes from’. This encourages the conversation about ‘What is in season?’

Food can be fun – what better way to share your knowledge.

Quince

Quince recipes

  1. Quince paste with biscuits
  2. Pear, Apple and Quince Crostata
  3. Roast quince
  4. Quince and apple crumble

Quince paste with biscuits

Quince paste with biscuits
 
Great for having with a pre-dinner drink or add as a side for lunch.
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 quince, peeled, cored, coarsely chopped 65ml water
  • 350g white sugar
  • Brie, cheddar and blue cheese, at room temperature, to serve
  • Wafers, to serve
Instructions
  1. Combine the quince and water in a large saucepan over high heat. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes or until tender. Place the quince mixture in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth.
  2. Combine quince and sugar in a large, clean heavy-based saucepan. Place on a simmer mat over low heat and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to very low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3½ hours or until mixture is ruby red, thick and leaves the side of pan. Set aside for 15 minutes to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, line the bases and sides of 3-4 ramekins with plastic wrap. Pour quince mixture evenly among ramekins and smooth surfaces. Cover and set aside for 6 hours or until set.Turn 1 ramekin onto a serving platter. (Store remaining paste in fridge until required). Serve with cheese and wafers.

 

Pear, Apple and Quince Crostata

 

Pear, Apple and Quince Crostata
 
Special equipment: a pastry or bench scraper; an 27cm x 3cm deep round fluted tart pan with removable bottom.
Author:
Ingredients
  • For roasted fruit:
  • 2 firm-ripe pears
  • 2 apples
  • 1 quince
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbs fresh ginger, finely chopped peeled (In Harvest Hub Stir-fry pack)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 tbs apple cider
  • For pastry shell:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbs sugar
  • 1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 6 to 8 tbs ice water
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • For brown sugar filling:
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup icing sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
Instructions
  1. To make roasted fruit:
  2. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 190C.
  3. Peel, quarter, and core pears, apples, and quince, then cut into chunks. Toss fruit with sugar, lemon juice, ginger, cinnamon stick, cloves, and 1 tablespoon apple cider in a bowl. Transfer to a large shallow baking pan and roast, stirring once or twice, until fruit is very soft and caramelized, 1 to 1¼ hours. Make pastry shell see below.
  4. Remove from oven and add remaining tablespoon apple cider, scraping up caramelized juices from bottom of baking pan. Discard cinnamon stick and cloves. Cool in pan on a rack, about 45 minutes.
  5. To make pastry shell:
  6. Pastry shell can be chilled up to 1 day. Whisk together flour, salt, and 2 tablespoons sugar in a large bowl. Blend in butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender (or pulse in a food processor) until mixture resembles coarse meal with some roughly pea-size butter lumps. Drizzle evenly with 6 tablespoons ice water and gently stir with a fork (or pulse) until incorporated. Squeeze a small handful: If dough doesn't hold together, add more ice water to dough, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring (or pulsing) until just combined. (Do not overwork mixture, or pastry will be tough.)
  7. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 6 portions. With heel of your hand, smear each portion once or twice in a forward motion to help distribute fat. Gather all of dough together with scraper and press into a ball, then flatten into a disk. Chill dough, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 1 hour. Then roll out dough on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 14-inch round, then fit into tart pan (do not trim).
  8. To make brown sugar filling:
  9. Put a large baking sheet in middle of oven and preheat oven to 375°F.
  10. Beat together butter and sugars in a large bowl using an electric mixer at high speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low, then add flour and a pinch of salt and mix until just combined. Spread evenly in pastry shell.
  11. To assemble and bake pastry:
  12. Preheat baking sheet.
  13. Scatter roasted fruit with juices over filling. Fold edge of pastry over filling to partially cover. Pleat dough as necessary. Brush folded pastry edge lightly with egg and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon sugar.
  14. Bake on preheated baking sheet until filling is puffed and set and pastry is golden brown, 50 to 60 minutes. Cool to warm, about 1½ hours. Remove side of tart pan and slide Crostata onto a plate.

 

Roast Quince

 

Roast Quince
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 heaped tbs sugar
  • 500ml water
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 large or 4 smallish quinces
  • ½ a lemon
  • 4 tbs maple syrup
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven at 180C.
  2. Put the sugar and water into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the cloves and star anise. Peel and halve the quinces and rub them with lemon to stop them browning. Lower the quinces into the sugar syrup and let them simmer till tender. They may be ready in 25 minutes or perhaps take a little longer, depending on their size and ripeness.
  3. When they are tender to the point of a knife, lift the quinces out and put them in a shallow baking dish or roasting tin. Take 150ml of the cooking liquid, add the maple syrup and, together with the aromatics, pour over the quinces. Bake for 30 minute or so till very soft and tender. Serve with their cooking juices.

 

Quince and apple crumble

 

Quince and apple crumble
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 quinces, cored, sliced and cut into 4 quarters
  • 6-7 tbs of honey
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 6-7 cloves
  • ¼ tsp crushed red chillies ( more or less)
  • ⅓ cup of water
  • 2 firm apples, cored, peeled and chopped
  • For the topping:
  • 1 cup large oats
  • 1 cup mixed seeds (pumpkin, sunflower and linseed)
  • 3 tbs of dark brown sugar
  • 4 tbs of vegetable/sunflower oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven at 180 C.
  2. Put the quince, cinnamon, nutmeg, chillies, cloves, honey and water in a wide, thick bottomed pan. Stir and place over low heat. Cook covered for about 10 minutes, stirring now and then, till the fruit can easily be cut with a spoon. Add the apple, stir and cook for another 10-12 minutes or till the apples soften a little. Increase the heat and stir till most of the moisture has evaporated. Transfer and spread this mixture to a baking. Discard the cloves.
  3. Mix together all the ingredients for the topping and spread over the quince- apple mixture. Press the top lightly. Place the dish in the centre of the pre-heated oven and bake for about 30-40 minutes or till the top is nicely browned and the fruit is hot and bubbly. If the top browns too quickly, cover the dish lightly with a piece of foil. Serve with cream.

 

 

Local Produce

Local Produce

This week we have 12 produce in Value Bag from Local growers.

see Value Bag

Sprayfree

  • Kale
  • Cucumber
  • Baby Cos
  • Shallots
  • Zucchini

Bilpin

Royal Gala Apples

FACT: In Bilpin there were 43 apple growers now there are only 2 selling commercially.

Please support out local farmers. When you purchase your fruit and veg look to see where it comes from and ask is it in season – not stored. We need to actively save our Sydney Food Bowl from being squashed by imports and long storage of fresh food.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cherries new season

Cherries new season

Cherries ready for pickingHarvest Hub buy cherries from Tony Mouawad from The Big Cherry in Young. He’s hoping for a good season,

After a few pretty average ones these past 4 years.  So far so good – let’s hope the rain and hail stay away.

Yes, cherries!

       Cherry Picking time

The season started well as there were bees around. As we all know now the bees are disappearing which will mean this pollination process will be under pressure. Bee Keepers actually move their boxes onto properties to help them pollinate rather than this happening naturally as there are not enough bees just flying around.

Cherry Blossom worker

Cherry Blossom worker

Cherry Goodness

Cherries are full of vitamins A, C, E, and minerals such as iron, copper, zinc, potassium, and manganese. The high levels of anthocyanins and antioxidants found in cherries make them an excellent food to help the immune system. Cherries are a well known “brain food” and can help to strengthen cognitive function by helping to improve memory, focus, and concentration and help to reduce brain fog.  Cherries are an excellent source of melatonin keep you calm.

Icecream – dairy free

Blend frozen bananas and frozen cherries in a food processor then freeze. A delicious dairy-free & fat-free ice cream.

Pears – Beurre Bosc and Packham

Pears – Beurre Bosc and Packham

Recipes below are:

1. Potato gratin with beurre bosc pear and blue cheese with baby spinach.

2. Beurre Bosc pears caramelised with pikelets.

3. Packham Pear and Mesclun Salad

 

Biosecurity Issues for the farmer when growing

Pear Biosecurity is taken very seriously in Australia. If you are wondering why many farmers are reluctant for the public to enter their orchards there is a reason. Biosecurity.

Farmers have strict practices governing disease control and it doesn’t matter which farming method you employ regarding soil, water or spray management. The end game for the farmer is to produce crops that are healthy and great eating.

What the Farmer is asked to do by the Agricultural Department is to log all on farm guests,check their tyres carrying dirt from elsewhere, making sure all workers have high hygiene processes, packing sheds are set up in such a way as to reduce contamination. So what are they fighting. Mostly the dreaded Eastern Seaboard Fruit Fly and aiming to prevent Fire Blight, not found in Australia. Fire Blight symptoms are blossom (looking waterlogged); Leaves/stem and new shoot buds turn brown and petal fall.

Hazardous life of a pear

A farmer has so much more to do just to get that one pear off the tree. But the pear has its own challenges. Fight the hail, the storms, the birds, the bats, the caterpillars, the branches…… While quietly swinging on the branch the one pear aiming to survive so they can be picked, packed and sent to market. Sounds like a day at the office sometimes eh? You’ll most likely never hold a pear again without thinking about it’s journey.

What is the difference between a Beurre Bosc and a Packham?

Beurre Bosc season for picking is March to November.
The stronger the brown-russeted skin, the better they taste and the better they keep.  Perhaps not pretty – but most serious pear afficionades agree that it has the best flavour. Beurre bosc
They can be eaten crunchy but if you wait a few days for them to soften you need to eat them quickly as the sugars activate and they begin to dissolve. Perfect baked in tarts, pan fried or used in salads. One favourite is to finely slice and put in sandwiches. No-one knows what it is and the reaction is quite fun and they love the crunch and sweetness.

Pears are high in fibre and a great energy boost during the day.

Packham are available May through to January so there are only a few months whilst Packham Pearsgrowing that they are not being picked. When ripe they turn an intense green and juicy inside.Again snack, salads or bake.

Try putting slices in a Stir-fry, grate on a salad, slices in your sandwich.

 

 

Potato gratin with beurre bosc pear and blue cheese with baby spinach
 
This one is easy to do. If you don't have ramekins take one oven dish and put all ingredients into the one dish. Worth the wait.
Author:
Recipe type: Baking
Ingredients
  • For the sauce:
  • 1 cup cream
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • cayenne pepper, to taste but about ¼ tsp
  • For the gratin:
  • 2 large desiree potatoes, peeled and finely sliced
  • 3 Beurre Bosc pears, peeled and finely sliced
  • 4 tbs butter softened
  • 1 brown onion, finely sliced
  • 100g Gorgonzola Blue-vein cheese (Harvest Hub)
  • On Top:
  • 5 slices Maasdam Swiss Style Cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • AND
  • Bunch baby spinach
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
  2. Need 6 ramekins greased with garlic butter
  3. To make sauce:
  4. In a saucepan on medium heat and add cream, garlic and cayenne pepper. Bring to the boil.
  5. To make the gratin:
  6. Into each ramekin start layering to the top with potato then pears and blue cheese. After each layer put 2 tbs of sauce.
  7. Cover the final top with the Maasdam cheese.
  8. Place the ramekins onto a baking tray and bake 20 minutes. Finish off by turning heat to 200C to brown the top for about 3 minutes.
  9. Remove the tray from the oven and cool for five minutes. For plating put baby spinach on plate then tip ramekin on top. Sprinkle some Australian Sprinkle seeds on top (Harvest Hub).

Beurre Bosc pears caramelised with pikelets
 
The kids can make this one! Pears pan fried.
Author:
Serves: 2 - 4
Ingredients
  • Caramelise:
  • 2 Beurré Bosc pears halved and finely sliced
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 tbs soft brown sugar
  • Lemon juice
  • Pikelets:
  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • a pinch salt
  • ¼ tsp baking soda or bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 egg
  • 180ml milk
  • 2 tbs castor sugar
  • ¼ tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 tsp melted butter
Instructions
  1. To caramelise the Beurré Bosc pears:
  2. In a frying pan over a medium high heat add a teaspoon of butter. When the butter has melted, add the sugar then the Beurré Bosc slices. Cook slowly and turn them over until showing golden about 8 to 10 minutes. Last step add lemon juice and then remove from the stove. Allow to cool.
  3. To make Pikelets:
  4. In a mixer (by hand or processor) bowl sift together flour, salt and baking soda. Make a well in the middle of the flour and add milk, egg, sugar and melted butter. Beat until smooth and a thick pouring consistency. Grease a non-stick fry pan then heat. Place a spoonful of batter and cook until you see bubbles appear. Turn the pikelet over with a spatula and continue cooking until the underside is a light brown. Important to place on a cloth or between layers of paper towel to cool so it doesn’t sweat and go soggy.

 
Packham Pear and Mesclun Salad
 
Spring is in the air!
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup pine nuts
  • 2 Packham pears, thinly sliced
  • 2 handfulls mesclun
  • 115g gorgonzola cheese (Harvest Hub)
  • For the Dressing:
  • 1 tbs spring onions, chopped
  • 1½ tbs Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbs honey
  • ⅓ cup tarragon, chopped
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper
  • ⅔ cup olive oil
Instructions
  1. To make Dressing:
  2. Combine all the ingredients except the oil into a small mixing bowl. Slowing drizzle in the oil while whisking until you have a smooth consistency.
  3. To make Salad:
  4. Toast the pine nuts in a pan over medium heat. The pine nuts have a high fat content so be careful not to burn them. Combine the mesclun, pine nuts, gorgonzola and dressing in a large salad bowl and mix. Serve on individual salad plates and top the each plate with slices of pear.

 

March to November, and is a medium to large pear. Sweet and juicy, it’s one of the best all-rounders for cooking. Beurré Bosc pears are perfect baked in tarts, pan fried or used in salads. – See more at: http://apal.org.au/consumers/varieties-pears/#sthash.SZ7mxjKl.dpuf

Blood Orange Warm Salad

Blood Orange Warm Salad

Blood Orange Warm Salad
 
the Warm Salad is like its summer cousin but intended to warm you on these chilly nights.
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • One blood orange per person.
  • 50g baby spinach a person.
  • 1 handful of walnuts, more if you’re feeding a crowd
  • 50 - 100gms Feta or goat cheese
  • 1 Beetroot, pre-cooked and cool enough to peel. Either boiled or baked in foil for an hours (for medi-um to large ones) in a hot oven (220 degrees )
  • All the Beet greens or baby spinach, washed and chopped.
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely sliced
  • 1 tsp of honey per person
  • Dressing
  • 2 parts virgin olive oil,
  • one part balsamic vinegar,
  • a crushed clove of garlic,
  • salt,
  • freshly ground pepper,
  • 1 tsp of Dijon mustard
  • some dried or fresh thyme leaves
  • blood orange zest
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven 220C to do beetroot.
  2. Put your beetroot on the stove top or in foil in the oven to bake. They’ll take about an hour depending on their size. When they’re cool enough to handle peel them of foil & then skin. Slice them and toss them into to the salad bowl.
  3. While your beetroots are cooking make the salad dressing.
  4. Ingredients into a jar, pop a lid on the jar and shake it vigorously before you splash it over the salad.
  5. Top and tail the oranges and then slice off the skin keeping the skins to squeeze extra juice into the salad bowl. Slice the oranges into segments, picking out the odd pip with the tip of your knife. If the white bits bother you slice them off (they contain fibre. Put the segments in the bowl.
  6. Wash the beetroot leaves carefully and slice finely. Slice the stalk more finely than the leaves. Quickly sauté these on medium high heat together with the garlic. Add the baby spinach towards the very end. It will wilt a little. If you don’t want it to wilt very much add it to the salad bowl instead.
  7. Chop the cool enough to handle peeled beetroots into slices. Put into the salad bowl with the sautéed leaves. Throw in the nuts and the small delectable pieces of cheese. Generously coat with salad dressing.
  8. Variations:
  9. For the lactose intolerant or vegan: use puy lentils instead of cheese. You can cook these are drain them into the bowl.
  10. Pre-soak (overnight) chickpeas and then cook and add these to the salad bowl.
  11. For those who like eggs:
  12. Add half a 5-6 minute boiled Dora Creek egg into the salad per person.
  13. For the carnivore:
  14. Grilled chicken breast or thighs sliced and added to salad is good.
  15. Grilled lamb straps or thin stakes sliced in pieces is also good.
  16. And if you love grapefruit, segments of ruby grapefruit add a touch of satisfying bitter to the flavour mix.
  17. If you’d rather not add a teaspoon of thyme to the salad dressing, try a teaspoon of cinnamon it works well with the citrus, spinach and beets.
  18. Cucumber or small sliced red radishes or slices of raw baby turnip will also add another element to this dish. Carrot slices will also add crunch.

 

 

The Warm Salad

 

Like its summer cousin but intended to warm you on these chilly nights.

 

The Basic Ingredient List:

 

One blood orange per person.

50g baby spinach a person.

A handful of walnuts. More if you’re feeding a crowd

Feta or goat cheese: a little goes a long way flavour wise.

Beetroot pre-cooked and cool enough to peel. Either boiled or baked in foil for an hours (for medium to large ones) in a hot oven (220 degrees )

Beet greens, washed and chopped.

2 cloves of garlic finely sliced

A teaspoon of honey a person

 

 

Blood oranges work well with most greens. The baby spinach blood orange combo is a winner for winter – you can feel it fighting off colds and flu as you eat.

 

Use a blood orange a person and 50-100 grams of baby spinach a person. Zest one of the blood oranges and add the zest to the dressing.

 

To Begin:

 

Put your beetroot on the stove top or in foil in the oven to bake. They’ll take about an hour depending on their size. When they’re cool enough to handle peel them of foil & then skin. Slice them and toss them into to the salad bowl.

 

While your beetroots are cooking make the salad dressing. Put 2 parts virgin olive oil, one part balsamic vinegar, a crushed clove of garlic, salt, freshly ground pepper, a teaspoon of Dijon mustard and some dried or fresh thyme leaves and blood orange zest into a jar, pop a lid on the jar and shake it vigorously before you splash it over the salad.

 

Top and tail the oranges and then slice off the skin keeping the skins to squeeze extra juice into the salad bowl. Slice the oranges into segments, picking out the odd pip with the tip of your knife. If the white bits bother you slice them off (they contain fibre. Put the segments in the bowl.

 

Wash the beetroot leaves carefully and slice finely. Slice the stalk more finely than the leaves. Quickly sautéthese on medium high heat together with the garlic. Add the baby spinach towards the very end. It will wilt a little. If you don’t want it to wilt very much add it to the salad bowl instead.

 

Chop the cool enough to handle peeled beetroots into slices. Put into the salad bowl with the sautéed leaves. Throw in the nuts and the small delectable pieces of cheese. Generously coat with salad dressing.

 

Variations:

 

For the lactose intolerant or vegan: use puy lentils instead of cheese. You can cook these are drain them into the bowl.

 

Pre-soak (overnight) chickpeas and then cook and add these to the salad bowl.

Blood Oranges

Blood Oranges

Bartolomeo Bimbi 1715

Bartolomeo Bimbi 1715

They like a cold climate and originated from Sicily and in Jingxian in Hunan Province – a natural occurring fruit. We found a wonderful painting from 1715 where Blood Oranges were depicted and in fact the painter, Bartolomeo Bimbi,  apparently depicted well over a hundred varieties of fruit cultivated in the Medici gardens in four of his larger paintings.

Blood oranges are the best winter antidote with vitamin C and a powerful antioxidant. The skin, is a deep orange characterised by a blush and the flesh a warming red, sometimes mixed with orange. The taste, a tiny bit bitter and less acidic than navel oranges. Imagine an orange that’s tastes of raspberry.Blood orange freshly cut

All oranges contain carotene — that’s what makes them orange. The red color in Blood Oranges come from high concentrations of a pigment called anthocyanin, a powerful antioxidant that neutralizes the effects of free radicals. Free radicals are the agents believed to be responsible for cancer, aging and other health ailments.

Anthocyanin is an antioxidant found in purple eggplant and blueberries among others red blue fruits and vegetables. Blood oranges can be squeezed for their juice, turned into ice confectionary, they make good marmalades (although you’ll need to use lemon seeds so that they set as most local varieties are seedless). Their zest is flavoursome in cakes, icings and candied peel. It is also add colour and flavour when added to quince jelly.

The jewel like colour of blood oranges segments in a salad of watercress is memorable. Throw in a handful of toasted walnuts and toss in a french dressing (dijon mustard mixed with three parts olive oil to one part blood orange juice with salt and pepper to taste).

Blood Oranges Cupcakes
 
If wishing gluten free cupcakes then use gluten free flour and add ¾ tsp xanthan gum or flax seeds, chia seeds, or psyllium husks.
Author:
Recipe type: Baking
Ingredients
  • 1¾ cups high-quality all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp blood orange zest (skin grated)
  • ¾ cup blood orange juice, 6 needed.
  • 8 tbs unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs, beaten Note leave at room temperature for an hour before whipping
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 176C. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin.
  2. In a bowl place flour, baking powder, salt and sugar and mix. Then add orange zest, juice, butter, vanilla, sour cream and eggs, mixing as you go.
  3. Fill the prepared muffin cups about three-quarters of the way full. Place in the centre of of oven cook for 20 minutes. Allow to cool. Decorate with your favourite topping.

How green is my papaya?

How green is my papaya?

Let’s talk about ripening Papaya.

Papaya Growing

Papaya Growing

Q: What fruit can be used to tenderise meat or cure stomach complaints?
A: Papaya!

Papaya is an incredibly versatile fruit. It can be eaten by itself, made into jams, chutneys and pickles or used like a vegetable when still green.

The fruit has very delicate flesh so papaya farmers harvest their crop when the fruit shows the first signs of turning from green so that they transport without bruising. Knowing when they will ripen is dependent upon:

  1. The amount of ethlyene gas the fruit is exposed to and sometimes this process might mean it will end up on your kitchen bench completing the ripening cycle.
  2. Characteristics of seasonal changes,
  3. The behavior of the ambient air – the temperature of the fruit while ripening helps to control the process and dictate the speed that the fruit ripens. The heat from the fruit pulp needs to be able to escape so airflow is essential, and degree of fruit maturity

So, how do you ripen them?
It will depend how green they are.

In winter the ripening can take up to two weeks if left to their own devices at room temperature. In summer the ambient heat will mean a ripening of 3 to 4 days.

AIR RIPENING
If you aren’t in a rush you can leave the papaya at room temperature and they will ripen in 3-4 days if sitting on top of apples. Make sure you turn them occasionally so that they ripen evenly. Once their skin turns yellow-orange and they yield to gentle pressure, they are ripe and ready to eat. BUT sit them like they are hanging from the tree otherwise they won’t ripen properly – the stem bit upwards.

SOONER RIPENING
If you want to eat your papaya sooner – then  pop it into a paper bag or wrap in kitchen paper. This will trap the fruit’s ethylene gas* and help it ripen more quickly while still allowing for healthy oxygen exchange through the bag. It’s respiration while ripening decreases the oxygen and emits carbon dioxide so this air flow is important. Keep the paper bag in a dark, cool place as excessive heat will cause the papaya to rot rather than ripen (so definitely not near a heater or stove). Turn occasionally.

INCREASE RIPENING SPEED
If you want to speed up the process even more you can add a pear, banana or an apple to the bag to increase the amount of ethylene gas present. Papayas will not ripen while they are in the fridge.

WHEN RIPE
Once the fruit is ripe you need to either consume it or pop it in the fridge to prevent it becoming overripe.

Papaya Lime Cocktail

Papaya Lime Cocktail

WHAT NEXT?…..  Add lime and more lime…..
Peel, slice and squeeze some lime juice over the top. This transforms Papaya. You’ll feel like your in a hammock on a tropical Island eating papaya newly picked.

Try a Papaya cocktail … just blend a cup of ice, ¼ of a papaya, a dash of orange juice, 30ml Triple Sec and a squeeze of lime juice. You could add 30ml of vodka if you’re after an extra kick! Add some salt to the Rim.

GREEN PAPAYA SALAD
Or if you just can’t wait for your papaya to ripen try this … Green Papaya Salad

*Ethylene is a natural plant hormone that affects the growth, development, ripening, and aging of all plants.

Prawn and papaya lettuce cups
 
This is great with a large green salad and takes total to table 10 minutes.
Author:
Recipe type: Quick meal
Cuisine: Starter or Main
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 small red chilli, finely dice
  • 400g cooked prawns
  • 1 small papaya, clean and cut into squares
  • 1tbs sweet chilli sauce
  • 1tbs brown sugar
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • juice of one lime
  • cashews & bean shoots to garnish
Instructions
  1. Combine in a bowl and gently mix. In a jug combine chilli sauce,sugar, fish sauce and lime juice. Stir and pour over prawn and papaya mixture. Stir to combine.
  2. Remove 4 inner leaves from an iceberg lettuce and divide the prawn and papaya mixture between them. Garnish.

 

 

 

 

*Ethylene is a natural plant hormone that affects the growth, development, ripening, and senescence (aging) of all plants.

Mango ripening – Don’t judge a mango by its colour.

A ripe mango means that summer is at its peak. Mangoes are good to eat with just about anything.

Picking Mangoes in Queensland www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au

Picking Mangoes in Queensland

  • As they are with the juice running down your chin.
  • Cut into cubes laced with some Country Valley yogurt.
  • Made into ice cream.
  • In a salad with coriander, basil and mint.
  • A salsa with some finely chopped red onion and herbs, and place on top of grilled chicken or fish.
  • A fruit salad with passion fruit pulp, papaya, lime juice, lime zest, basil and mint.

 

 

A mango with a blush on its cheek is ripe. However, don’t be fooled with a slightly green mango. Feel if they have give.mango as this can also be ready to eat. It is more the feel of a mango. If it has a little give then begin slicing. Always ripen at room temperature – pop on top of pears or apples. Once ripe then into the fridge momentarily until ready to eat.

Smell the mango. A ripe mango smells fruity (sniff at the stem end) the fruit giving a tad when you press it.  A light or darker green mango will be ready to eat if it smells ripe.  So for mango ripening- don’t judge a mango by its colour.

Slightly Green ready to eat. Feel if they have give.

Slightly Green ready to eat. Feel if they have give.

SPEED RIPENING – You can speed ripen by putting an unripe mango in a brown paper bag with a banana.  Ripe mangoes keep longer at 14 to 15 degrees so once tripe into the fridge. Want to keep it for months so you can use on demand? Then peel, chop and freeze a mango in an airtight container, it will keep for 6 months.

IDEA: put into ice cube trays then once frozen into a zip lock bag. An ideal treat for the kids or self when you want something sweet. Also, slice the cheeks off and place freezer paper between them.  Freeze them and use them for that summer taste in purees, mocktails, cocktails and smoothies. Lash out and make Mango Icecream made from coconut milk –  Recipe below.

Unripe mangoes are an acquired taste and feature in Indian and Thai cuisine. Their sourness works well in a salad or chutney.

Like it Tart tasting? Use your mortar and pestle to crush two red chili peppers and 3 tablespoons of sea or kosher salt. Let the salt and chilli sit together for an hour or so.  Use as a dip for slices of unripe mango.
If you are lucky enough to have a glut of mangoes, slice the cheeks off and place freezer paper between them.  Freeze them and use them for that summer taste in purees, mocktails, cocktails and smoothies.

Mango Icecream
 
Make lush Mango Icecream without all the sugar. This is a dish the kids can make and pop into popsicle forms or into icetrays and give as treats.
Author:
Recipe type: Sweet
Cuisine: Dairy Free
Ingredients
  • 2 cans coconut milk, full fat
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 tbs honey
  • 1 cup mango, about 3 mangoes
  • 2 egg yolks, optional - this thickens it
Instructions
  1. Put mango into food processor and pulse. Then add remaining ingredients and pulse. If using an icecream maker put into it and turn for about 30 minutes.
  2. If making by hand - Place in a metal or plastic dish and put into freezer. Around the 30 minutes, as it starts to freeze at the edges take it out and stir with a spatula or hand mixer. Return to freezer. Repeat process every 30 minutes for about 4 times.

Curry Prawn & Mango
 
Very quick and easy to make. For a bit of pepper heat add chopped chillies.
Author:
Recipe type: Curry
Cuisine: Indian
Ingredients
  • 3-5 tbs coconut oil (Harvest Hub)
  • Curry Paste use Curry Masters Fish Goa, Harvest Hub
  • 1 can 600ml coconut milk
  • 750g peeled green king prawns
  • 2 ripe mangoes, cut into 2cm cubes
  • 1 cup coriander leaves, firmly packed
  • 2 limes, use one for zest grated and juiced
  • To garnish: 1 lime cut onto 4 wedges
  • Jasmine Rice
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a pan and fry the paste 2-3 minutes.Add the prawns and coconut milk and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the prawns are just cooked through. Add the mango and the coriander leaves and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  2. Serve with steamed jasmine rice and garnish with lime wedges.

 

Metella Road Public School Harvest Hub went off with a Bang

Harvest Hub aims to bring family and friends to the dinner table in conversation. A good way to this is eating fresh produce, cooking together, opening discussion on eating healthy, seasonal and fresh.

Crunch & Sip Program Metella Road Public School

Bursting to the Brim. Mettela Road Public School Harvest Hub bags

Metella Road Public School is located in Toongabbie, Sydney, about 15 minutes from Parramatta. It is a school that hums and the Principal, Peter D’Emilio, has a smile on his face and spring in his step. The reason being is that he has an amazing community both inside and outside the school who support each other with the various initiatives.

When you enter the Metella Road Public School the staff, the teachers and the children in the playground have wide smiles and the general hum of happy voices wraps around you. This school has something different.

They had a Spring Fete a few weeks ago and it was a joy to see how many families and community members came to support the fundraiser. But it was the glowing chatter from parents about how the school is making a difference for the children.

First harvest Hub at Metella Road Public School

Colleen and Edwina – Where are those potatoes?

Making a difference teaching practical life skills and now a Harvest Hub which will provide the opportunity to have Local Sydney Basin produce and for families to cook together.

Harvest Hub seasonal Sydney Basin produce

All Aboard Metella Road Public School Harvest Hub starts

In the Blacktown Sun Peter mentions that the Hub will support the Crunch & Sip program where the children have a break to eat fresh fruit & veg. The Harvest Hub program will enable those children coming to school without fruit or veg an opportunity to have a piece.

Colleen and Edwina had fun divvying up the bags and look forward to volunteers helping every week. The school receive $4 for every bag they pack and on their very first week they packed 18 bags. A great fundraiser which will assist in providing funds for school projects.

Harvest Hub seasonal Sydney Basin produce

All Aboard Metella Road Public School Harvest Hub starts

David in the Before/After school care has also taken the opportunity to provide for their group by ordering through the Hub. This way they don;t have to trudge off to the shops and are saving by purchasing this way.

If you have a preschool, school, group, community centre, community garden, church that would like to have a Hub to help with fundraising efforts please contact us  – info@harvesthub.com.au

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Loss Leaders. Why do supermarkets have them?

A Harvest Hub member noticed that Colesworth had new season Menindee grapes on sale this week for $4.98/kg. At Harvest Hub they’re $11.80/kg.  Thank you for giving us the opportunity to discuss this!

Our member’s right – they’re $4.98/kg at Woolworths.  (Coles is selling ‘white seedless grapes’ almost as cheaply for $5.00/kg.) These prices are actually below wholesale cost.  At Harris Farm, they are a more comparable $10-$11/kg

Menindee grapes

Loss Leaders. Why do supermarkets have them?        Every store always has a few ‘loss leaders’ – products they’re prepared to sacrifice profit on to draw in customers. Merchants then make up for these losses by charging handsomely for other goods.

 

Loss leaders are often sold at cost or below cost. In this way Menindee grapes are loss leaders, as are Colesworth branded 2 litres of milk for $2, and many advertised supermarket weekly specials.

In relation to fruit and vegetables, supermarkets often have agreements with individual growers, which removes the price they pay the grower for produce, and the price they sell it for from the usual ups and downs of ‘market pricing’.

As you know market pricing is based on normal demand and supply. For the growers caught in these agreements with Colesworth, this means that price is fixed despite any changes in circumstances.

Harvest Hub doesn’t enter into such agreements because they can disadvantage growers, and our support for growers includes considering a future that benefits both them and our members.

If supply is short, due to bad weather, insect devastation, unripe produce, for instance, the market price will increase. An increased price is fair for the grower who has to bear the brunt of seasonal produce ups and downs.

Our Sydney basin growers, too, have families to feed. We don’t think locking them into pricing is equitable, especially if the price negotiated is so low the grower struggles to produce their crop.

As 95% of Harvest Hub customers are regulars (i.e. they are already in our store), we simply ensure we’re competitive across the board.  We purchase from our growers at a fair price for them, we check our final pricing every Friday night (into the wee hours of Saturday morning) and we establish our prices for the whole week.

We don’t change these prices no matter what happens at the market so that our Hubs supplied at the end of the week are not disadvantaged.  So unlike Colesworth we do not alter the end-user pricing, nor do we adjust our pricing to reflect the different suburban communities our members hail from.  Colesworth charges according to locality.

Whilst we publish and keep our prices constant for the week, each week we do not lock-in the growers to a specific price. They receive what they ask for and that generally is what is fair for keeping them in business.

The result of this is your Harvest Hub basket is competitively priced overall, plus you receive you always receive additional items in the Value Bag and this is the reason we base it on a co-op style divvy.

To give you some examples (all prices per kg, except where otherwise indicated. Note there will be variation between Woolies shops): To see full list expand to 15 items.

[table id=35 /]

While we’re not the cheapest on every item  we are competitive across a range of goods – especially considering that Colesworth pays the growers on average 10% – 30% less than we do because of their buying power.

Local Produce in Season

Harvest Hub prides itself on supporting local growers, especially Sydney basin growers and providing local produce in season.  One of the reasons Menindee grapes are comparatively expensive now is that we are at the very beginning of the grape season.

That said, Woolworths’ produce is not particularly local – nor is Harris Farm’s.  Whilst we support many Sydney-based growers, we know that Woolworths has virtually no growers across the Sydney Basin, and Harris Farm only has a handful.

And while Coles is becoming aware that Australian shoppers prefer to buy local, of the 27 Australian growers featured on Coles Meet Our Growers Page only three of them are from NSW, and one of those is a wine maker.

That said, we encourage our members to buy the specials in store, if it’s worth the trip – but we also advise them to be careful with filling up their shopping basket with all the other fully priced items. Loss leaders are intended, after all, to get a customer into the store to purchase other goods.

We expect Menindee prices to drop over the next few weeks as the grape season progresses – so it won’t be long before we’re able to match Coles’ and Woolworths’ grape prices.  In the meantime, we offer members locally sourced, in season fruit, vegetables, and artisan bread and award winning dairy that is competitively priced and ethically sourced.

Not perfect but tasty

Don't waste marked food

Not perfect but tasty

If you buy Harvest Hub smoothie bananas you know that looks aren’t everything as marked skins do not affect the flavour of these nanas and we’re all about flavour.  Or Banana smoothie smallHarvest Hub lebanese cucumbers – on occasion they might be a little curly but every
delivery is tasted to ensure they’re sweet.

Natural marks

Sun, rain, wind and frost can mark fruit and vegetables without effecting their nutritional value.  Melons can have a patch on them where they rest on the ground while growing or some grazing and still be excellent eating.  Unfortunately good fruit and veg in Australia is often dumped, ploughed back into the soil, juiced or made into jam for a fraction of the cost it took to grow because many consumers and sellers expect fruit and veg to look perfect. They’ve been marketed this way so that Industrialisation of production can happen.

Different size – different shape

If fruit and veg can be produced the same size, perfect in look – never mind the flavour – then it’s cheaper to produce and easier to store for long periods, pack and deliver – ala large supermarket requirements. They actually have sizing boards to fit the fruit through and if not the right size – fail …. throw it away. We don’t ask our growers to do this sizing process and they pick what is grown. we indicate roughly what we would like but don’t force them to throw away their produce if they are wiggly or misshaped. We are more interested that they taste great.

The cost

Purchasing the perfect looking produce has a cost. Environmental and waste – the rejected fruit and veg that did not measure up to supermarket buying standards.  These standards are based on the produce withstanding extended storage, long distance haulage, forced ripening, fitting to required size. It has little to do with flavour or nutrition.

Limited varieties

The cost is also measured in limited varieties offered for sale or skip the local offer and import it – it’s all year round then and not seasonal.  Heirloom tomatoes,  for instance, do not hold up well to increased handling and long term storage.

Have you ever picked up a piece of fruit with a slight skin mark and put it back in favour of a spotess one? Thinking perhaps, it won’t be as tasty as the unmarked one?

Watery potatoes that look good but are picked too early to develop the vitamins and minerals of their mature counterparts and tasteless tomatoes are two compelling reasons why looks over flavour don’t work.  These industrialised growing practices are not limit what Australians eat.

How much is too much?

Did you know that Australians are dumping AUD$1.1 billion (US$1.12 billion) worth of fruit and vegetables in landfill each year? That’s between 20-40% of Australian fruit and vegetable are rejected before appearing in your fruit bowl.

Why choose imperfect

Irregular shaped, marked or slightly discoloured fruit and veg are not sold by large retailers despite being flavoursome, and nutrient rich. Why? Demand is for aesthetically-pleasing produce – if shops put pretty fruit out the demand for it increases.

Fruit and vegetable skin, like our skin, protects what’s on the inside. A mark or two won’t affect eating quality and will mean less waste from grower to plate.  Like that book you can’t jusge by its cover, or the saying, ‘Beauty comes from within’. Not perfect but tasty. Perhaps the goodness judgement is: flavour and texture over appearance.