Feasting on the bounty of spring

SPRING lamb is one of the joys of life. From sweet lamb chops and tender back straps through to the delights of a rack, spring lamb in its many forms is simply a must.

Spring lambs by definition are wee sheep with no teeth.

Well, they have to be aged under a year and most are about six months. Most specialised butchers will have supplies of spring lamb and will prepare it for what you need.

The WA lambing season arrived a little early this year and the cuts I’ve experienced have really hit

the spot.

Best outlets, Torre and Sons, Mondo di Carne or direct

from your mate’s farm.

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Did you know that the strawberry is the only fruit with seeds on the outside rather than the inside? Supposedly an aphrodisiac, berries are not only a good source of vitamin C but are an endless supply of passion for the senses of young and old lovers of this, the most exotic of berries. First-class strawberries have started to arrive on the scene in recent weeks and I have been told (by my man on the inside) that you won’t taste strawberries any better than this all year.

So it’s time to roll out the picnic blanket with a loved one and indulge in an afternoon feeding on strawberries.

The season for strawberries of this quality will only last for a short time, so get in quickly and look for strawberries coming from growers within the ‘rainbow coast’.

Best outlets include the growers’ markets around town and Dewsons outlets. Expect to pay around $1.99kg.

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Now also is the time to seek out asparagus. The word on the street is that the asparagus coming out of Denmark at the moment is as good as it gets. Spring shows fresh asparagus at its very best and, given the fact that these days you can find most fruits and vegetables in outlets all year round, we often forget how good in-season produce can be. Asparagus certainly falls into this category. Juicy and tender, you can marvel in the delights either raw or quickly cooked.

For best results cook in boiling water for about two minutes – less for thin stems. You will be able tell when they’re ready by biting the end of a stem, it should be tender yet still with a little resistance to the bite.

Best outlets will include the growers’ markets, ensure that it is local, and expect to pay $7.99kg.

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There is a veritable basket full of spring fruit and vegetables that will provide a taste sensation of seasonal produce. Jerusalem artichokes from Gingin are ready to leap into your next salad or pasta dish. Haas avocados are just beginning their season. Salad onions are fantastic right now.

Likewise the quality of the Chinese vegetables from the same growing areas are also first class. If you want to really spoil yourself, there are small quantities of peaches and nectarines that are a little early and small, but really full of flavour.

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Keep an eye on the prices of bananas over the next few weeks. It seems that a ’nana fight is brewing between the two big retail chains, who seem to be playing a game of bend the banana to see who can sell a box the cheaper – up to $6 below cost. Market share can be a strange game, in this case notching up yet another win for consumers.

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