Enjoy the fruits of the world

IF like me, you are one of those people who squeeze, sniff, fondle and finger the fruit and vegetables in search of the ultimate prized item to add to your weekly basket, then you will need to read on, because after some in-depth prodding I have been able to gain some insight into what’s hot and what’s not in the fruit and veggie scene.

Firstly, it is important to know that we are now entering autumn. Some very important facts to know about autumn are that the footy seasons starts and both the Dockers and Eagles believe that they have a chance of finishing in the top eight. Winter will soon be upon us, which will lead us all to cry out for the temptations of summer.

What is blatantly obvious to all those housebound gourmets who invariably find a spring recipe in autumn and promptly decide to prepare it for dinner guests, is that fruit and vegetables are now global produce. If locally produced artichokes are not in season, don’t panic, you will still be able to find them (all be it from specialist grocers) flown in from California. Now this may be a little far fetched, but increasingly you are able to find fresh produce in most stores at any time of the year, regardless of season. Just about gone are the days of eating nothing else but peaches because in a couple of weeks there wouldn’t be a peach to be found.

Because culturally we eat differently to what we did going back 10 years, we have slowly created demand for produce that requires various items of fruit and vegetables to be available “out of season” Global production has also allowed once geographically-specialist items to become standard fare on our supermarket shelves. Going back even four or five years how many people had even heard of a cos lettuce? Times they are a changing as Bob would say. These days at the traditional Aussie BBQ we don’t often find a salad of iceberg lettuce, chunks of cheese, the odd wedge of carrot and a wad of beetroot anymore. These days we use anything from sundried tomatoes and shitake mushrooms sitting in a bed of some six different types of lettuce leaves.

But availability, through global transport, artificially altered growing conditions or cold storage doesn’t necessary make the produce taste any better. How many times does what looks great on the shelf translate into disappointing eating. Buying citrus fruit is a bit of a gamble because much of it comes air freighted from the US. The colour of those oranges might be willing us to buy them, but the flesh will often be weak.

What is ultimately important to recognise is that you can’t beat seasonal fresh produce. None of us are able to hide the delights of a refreshingly fresh peach from our own south west dribbling down the chin. I have asked around over the last week and can tell you there a number of truly seasonally fresh bits of produce ready for you to revel, almost exclusively, in the fruit department

Rockmelons: Top eating in the heat, these melons are working there way into stores from down south and the Swan Valley and reports are that they are succulently sweet, oh yeah! and while they will be around for a while, a while ain’t that long.

Peaches: This summer highlight is also not around for much longer, and my contact tells me that you are best to grab the ones with not much colour.

Nectarines: Ones with the white flesh are a dream for lovers of this stone fruit.

Blueberries: These increasingly popular fruits are also hitting there straps at the moment with the pick of the crop coming from way down south. However, a little note that I have been told is that for us everyday gourmets it is often better to buy berries frozen as they will have had less handling and thus less bruising and thus less of a chance to lose any of the juice we really enjoy.

Bananas: In from Carnarvon for those ’nana lovers – in peak condition at present.

Grapes: It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but there are some great tasting bunches of grapes hanging. If you’re down south, probably best if you don’t sample the ones in vineyards by the bucket load, could get a tad nasty with the locals

Apples: It is a little tacky, but an apple a day keeps the doc away. Royal Galas and new season Jonathons are the movers and groovers in the apple kingdom.

Pears: This is my fresh produce tip of the week, fresh from the pickers’ mouth, and hotter than John the Indian bookmaker. Bartlet pears are full of mouth-watering succulent juice. But beware they will hang around about as quick as a West Indian opener. Every dessert chef in our fair city will be hunting these rippers down.

When it comes to finding the best in fresh produce you find that a lot do it well, however there are a number who do it very well, maintaining a range and a level of quality that is cutting edge (no pun intended). Dewsons gets some serious brownie points as they are committed to local produce. The Boat Shed in Cottesloe is excellent both in range and quality, you can always find some treats at the Freo Markets and the Morley Markets services the needs of many local restaurants with a quality range. However it would be hard to go past the quality and range of the produce at the Herdsman Fresh Essentials, amongst the leaders in their craft. The prices you may pay in some of these places might not always agree with you, but their commitment to finding what’s best and, importantly, tasty certainly will.

Herdsman Fresh Essentials

9 Flynn Street Floreat 9383 7733

Open 7 days 8am – 8pm

Fremantle Markets

South Terrace cnr Henderson 9335 2515

Friday 9am – 9pm, Sat 9am – 5pm, Sun and Public Holiday Mon 10am – 5pm

Boatshed Fresh Markets

40 Jarrad Street Cottesloe 9284 5176

Open 7 days 7am – 8pm

Morley Growers Market

16 Walter Road Morley 9276 5591

Open 7 days 6am – 6pm

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