Hot weather in VIC throughout the Summer, as well as heavy rains in QLD, have affected the planting, and therefore the supply of some vegetable varieties recently. However, there has been some improvement in the last week or so.
Bok Choy, Carrots, Potatoes, Sweet Potato, Pumpkin, Mushrooms, Zucchini, Lettuces and Cucumbers are all good value and quality.
The supply of Broccoli, Beans and Cauliflower has improved over the last week.
The market price of Red Capsicums and Corn has increased over the last week.
Snowpeas / Sugarsnap, Celery and Tomatoes remain very scarce.
The supply of fruit is very good. Except for berries – which are expensive.
Apples – I am currently buying Pink Lady, Fuji and Gala – all very good quality. Pink Ladys are last year’s fruit, while Galas and Fujis are fresh off the trees. New season Pink Ladys are still a few weeks from starting. Galas are best kept in the fridge or they may turn floury quickly. New season Granny Smith are available – I will wait a week or so as the first fruit of the season tend to be very tart.
Avocados – Shepards are now in season. They have a thin skin which remains green even when ripe. They will yield to gentle pressure when they are ready to eat. Ready to eat fruit is not always available in the market so they may need to be left out at room temperature for a few days to ripen. Demand for avocados has been outstripping supply for a couple of years now because of their increase in popularity, so until growers (and new growers) can catch up with new plantations, price will continue to be firm.
Bananas – Price is up due recent heavy rain in Northern QLD.
Blueberries – Quality is very good. Price is higher than usual.
Grapes – Green Thompson Seedless and Crimson Seedless are both very good quality.
Kiwifruit – The Australian and New Zealand seasons have finished. From now until about April next year, fruit will be imported from Italy. I don’t buy kiwifruit during this time.
Lemons – Supply has improved.
Limes – Excellent quality and value.
Mandarins – Not long until the new season starts – probably in 3-4 weeks.
Oranges – Summer Valencias are in season – very good juice and flavour. The texture of Valencias may be described as a being a bit chewy compared to the Winter navels. For this reason they are sometimes best suited to juicing.
Pineapples – Topless Pines are now very good quality.
Rockmelons – quality and value is very good.
Stonefruit – White or Yellow peaches? This coming week I will be buying yellow nectarines and yellow peaches. Quality is very good – however only a few weeks left in the season. Plums are particularly good and will continue for at least another month,
Strawberries – Quality should be good this coming week, however price is higher than usual. At this time of year strawberries are grown in Victoria, and quality can be a bit hit and miss. If the weather is too hot or wet, they may become mushy quite soon after picking. It is always best to consume as soon as possible at this time of year.
Watermelon – Right now is traditionally the best time of year for watermelon – quality is very good.