Spring at the Markets

The end of August into early September is a time of transition at the markets, with winter produce lines winding up and the flavours that signify summer (and the busy season) starting to make an appearance. So, to help with menu planning this Spring we thought we’d pull together a market update on key produce lines and how they’re predicted to perform over the coming months.


JUicy fruits. Slices of grapefruits, oranges, lemons and kiwi fruits

Market Update: While it’s late in the season for Australian citrus there are a number of lines that will continue to be good quality eating into October. We can also look forward to the imminent arrival of new season Valencia Oranges.

Selection: Look for bright, plump fruit that is heavy for size. Don’t be put off if Valencia’s have a green tint, this can happen in hotter climates and does not affect flavour.


Availability: Jun - August - good quality fruit will end in the next 4 weeks.

Flavour: sweet, juicy and less acidic than regular oranges


Availability: Sept - April

Flavour: Rich, citrus flavour




Market Update: Topless pineapples are going to be at their peak for the next 4-6 weeks.

Selection: No matter which variety you buy it’s important to note that pineapples may get juicier after harvesting but they don’t get sweeter - so choose plump fruit with no bruising/blemishes and a fresh, sweet (but not too sweet) pineapple fragrance.

BETHONGA: aka Topless Gold/Bethonga Gold Hybrid

Availability: best Sept-May

Appearance: smooth, topless, slightly smaller than smooth cayenne

Flavour: less fibrous and low acidity makes them more aromatic and sweeter in flavour than smooth cayenne



asparagus (1)

Market Update: Asparagus season is underway with quality spears now available at the markets. Rainfall has meant a slow start to this year’s harvest but it won’t impact domestic supply. We always look forward to the arrival of white asparagus due to gourmet appeal but don’t overlook its purple brethren, with lower fibre content it boasts sweet, thick spears that can be used from tip to butt.


Green: All year, at its peak Sept- Dec

Baby Green: All year, best Sept- Dec

White: Sept – Jan

Purple: Oct - Dec



peaches studio isolated over white

Market Update: Some early season Peaches and Nectarines are arriving at the markets now. With quality and flavour still developing, the USA fruit may look and eat better for the next few weeks but then it will be all systems go for this homegrown favourite.


Yellowflesh: September – March

Whiteflesh (juicy, sweet): October- March


Yellowflesh (mix of sweet/light acid flavours): November – March

Whiteflesh (hold the acid, sweet and fragrant): November - March


Did you know that Simon George & Sons has online ordering?

Contact us to get started or find out more.

The Root of the Matter

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said that the “beautiful rests on the foundations of the necessary” and nothing could be truer for the workhorses of the culinary world: root vegetables. Despite their functionality and often crude appearance, root vegies are a core ingredient of cuisines worldwide due to their flavour, affordability and nutritional value.
Winter is the peak season for most root vegetables, here we showcase a range of varieties that are at their peak over the winter months and offer that little something special.


Speaking of tatties, these varieties start in Autumn and are well on their way to peak flavour and supply in the winter months.

Potatovarietiesinsta (1)

BURBANK aka Idaho

When: All year, best Mar - Dec

How: The chip potato! Though also good for baking and roasting


When: All year, best Jan - Oct

How: Starchy so make great chips but also good mashed, boiled, baked or fried


When: All year, best Jan - Oct

How: One of our best sellers, desiree are an all rounder. They hold their shape well, suffer minimal discolouration after cooking and are incredibly versatile, avoid frying.


When: All year, best Feb - Aug

How: All rounder- good cooking variety (roast, mash, chip, salad)

CELERIAC: aka Celery root


Availability: Mar - Sept

Appearance: creamy brown solid tuber

Flesh: white

Flavour: rich texture with slightly nutty flavour - cross between celery and parsley

Selection: choose medium size roots that are firm, if the leaves are still attached look for healthy plump stalks

Preparation: Don’t wash until ready to use and peel tough outer layer. Cooked they can be chipped, boiled, steamed, mashed you name it. Raw they are often grated in salads (lemon will stop discolouration once cut)

Nutritional value: good dietary fiber and Vitamin C


GreenKohlrabi (2)

Availability: Best Jun - Aug

Appearance: swollen stem at the base of blue/green leaves, stem can be purple-red/light green-white

Flesh: pale green - creamy white and crispy

Flavour: slightly sweeter than broccoli stems or cabbage heart. White tends to be slightly softer and milder, while red is larger and has a stronger aroma and flavour

Selection: buy medium size (larger = woodier). Look for crisp, good colour

Preparation: The stems have two distinct fibrous layers, these are generally peeled prior to cooking or serving raw. To get the most value and nutrients, cook whole with skin on then peel after cooking. Otherwise, use much like a turnip- lovely raw in salads or roasted/sautéed. The leaves can also be used as a substitute to Kale.

Nutritional value: Very good source of Vitamin C and potassium

LOTUS ROOT: aka renkon

Lotus_root (2)

Availability: Usually available all year

Appearance:  root (rhizome) with reddish brown skin

Flesh: slightly crunchy, white flesh with air holes running the length of the root

Flavour: sweet, crisp (maintains texture when cooked)

Selection: firm, plump and juicy with no soft spots. The darker the root the older it is

Preparation: Peel and go. Can be eaten raw (like celery or carrot) on a platter or in salads. When cooking, it is recommended to blanch prior to avoid discolouration. Steam, caramelise, stew, candy or use in a curry or soup

Nutritional value: dietary fiber, Vitamin C, minerals- copper, iron, zinc, magnesium



Availability: All year but at its best Autumn/Winter

Appearance: white, tapered root

Flesh: white

Flavour: spicy, pungent nose burn- similar to wasabi or mustard (which are in the family)

Selection: avoid shriveled or dry roots with soft or green spots

Preparation: fresh roots aren’t pungent but (similar to wasabi) the process of cutting, grating or grinding causes its cells to breakdown and undergo a chemical reaction. This reaction releases oils which provide the pungent aroma and taste. Once prepared, fresh horseradish should be used quickly or it will lose its potency (if left exposed it can also develop a bitter taste)

Nutritional value: antibacterial (good for colds) source of potassium, calcium and magnesium

SALSIFY: Black & White


Availability: Best Autumn/Winter

Appearance: long, slim root with bark like skin (black or white) and creamy-white flesh

Flavour: creamy, earthy taste that some compare to an oyster or artichoke

Preparation: wear gloves to avoid staining hands, peel then coat with lemon to prevent browning (having said that it is often easier just to peel after boiling, then prepare as desired).

Health Benefits: particularly good for diabetics, it is a good source of fibre, manganese, potassium, riboflavin, Vit B6 & C

JICAMA: aka Yam Bean

Availability: All Year

Appearance: tan coloured tuber

Flesh: white and crunchy

Flavour: crisp and sweet (cross between an apple and a potato)- high water content

Selection: medium size, firm with dry roots

Preparation: Use like apple or pear in salads (grated/chopped) as it won’t discolour. Can be used like a water chestnut in asian dishes or chopped into stews or soups.

Nutritional value: very good source of Potassium, dietary fibre and Vitamin C

Did you know that Simon George & Sons has online ordering?

Contact us to get started or find out more.

BUYER'S GUIDE: Asian/Exotics 6th - 12th Nov


Not Available: Luffas * Sin Que * Tamarind

Short Supply: Kachay * Water Spinach


Short Supply: Figs * Pomelos * Starfruit

Not Available: Asian Plum * Buddha Hands * Cumquats * Custard Apple * Fuji Fruit * Gold Kiwifruit * Guava * Loquats * Persimmon * Rambutan *  Tamarillo (gold) * Tangellos * Winter Melon

BUYER'S GUIDE: 6th - 12th Nov


The Buy list:  Apricots, Granny Smith & Delicious Apples, Blueberries, Ruby Grapefruit, USA Grapes, Honeydews, Kiwifruit, Mandarins, Mangoes, Mangosteen, Nashi Pears, Peaches, Nectarines, Navel Oranges, Paw Paw & Red Papaya, Pineapples, Plums, Rockmelons, Strawberries and Long & Seedless Watermelons.

The Watch List: Figs (Price) Passionfruit (Quality & Price) Gold Kiwifruit (Local Season Over)

Market Insights: With good supplies of New Season Stonefruit on market, “Apricots, Cherries, Mangoes, Nectarines, Peaches & Plums” and New Season Exotics: “Red Dragonfruit, Pomegranates, Lychees and Mangosteen” it is easy to get the variety and the colour need to dress up the menu. At this time the market is fully supplied with quality fruit and priced to suit. Enjoy! 


The Buy list:  Globe & Baby Artichokes, Aussie Green and Purple Asparagus and Imported White, Green Beans, Beetroot, Broccoli, Red, Green & Yellow Capsicums, Carrots, Cauliflowers, Celery, Chicory, Chinese Leaf Veg, Lebanese Cucumbers, Local Herbs, Jerusalem Artichokes, Red & Green Kale, Kohlrabi, All Lettuce, Lobok, Pumpkin, All Mushrooms, Fresh Green Peas, Mesclun, Baby Gourmet Spinach, Silverbeet, Sweet Corn, Sweet Potatoes, All Tomatoes and Zucchini 

The Watch List: Yellow Zucchini (Quality & Supply) Large Heirlooms Tomatoes (Supply & Price) Brussels Sprouts (On the bigger size & Price) 

Market Insights: Vegetables much the same as fruit, market is in good supply. We may see (at the end of the week and possible early next week) a shortening of some VIC produce due to the Melbourne Cup for a day or two before returning to normal. And with clear weather north and south this looks like being the status quo for the next few weeks.



Fruit:  Blueberries (NSW) * Paw Paw (QLD) * Peach (NSW) * Seedless Grapes - black (imp) * Strawberries - medium(VIC)

Vegetable: Baby English Spinach (VIC) * Cherry Tomatoes- red (NSW) * Mushroom- no 2 (NSW) * Sweetcorn (QLD) * Zucchini- green (NSW)


Fruit: Australian Cherries (SA) * Dragonfruit (NT) * Lychee (QLD) * Pineapple Plants (QLD) * Starfruit aka carambola (NT)

Vegetable: Baby Globe Artichokes (NSW)* Butter bean - yellow (QLD) * Purple Asparagus (VIC) * Red Witlof (VIC) * Yellow teardrop Tomatoes (NSW)


End of Season: Black Salsify (NA) * Champagne Melon (this week) * Gold Kiwifruit (NA) *

Short Supply: Yellow Zucchini

Expensive: Passionfruit


FRESH FACT:  Bananas (much like money) do NOT grow on trees. Related to the lily and orchid, the banana plant is actually a giant herb that produces edible fruit, known to reach 9m in height, it is the world’s largest perennial plant without a woody stem.


The banana is one of the most well known and easily recognisable fruits in Australia- we even have a really big one as a landmark up near Coffs Harbour. It’s not hard to understand why we’re so enamoured with the fruit, it is a healthy snack that is convenient to eat, tasty and affordable. But how can this everyday favourite dessert style fruit translate onto the menu? Today we’re taking a broader look at bananas, going beyond the dessert fruit to banana products that are lesser known yet, valuable in the kitchen. As an overgrown herb, the banana plant itself deserves some attention as the blossoms and leaves have their own unique flavour, character and purpose. Or for something different, why not include plantain (or cooking bananas) on the menu, found in Cuban, Caribbean cuisine they are a fabulous alternative to root vegetables being both versatile and interesting.


PLANTAIN BANANAS: aka Cooking Bananas

Image: www.specialtyproduce.com

Availability: all year

Use: used as a vegetable, popular in Caribbean, Mexican and Asian cuisine

Appearance: firm fruit with a thick green skin, they are longer and fatter than sweet bananas (Cavendish etc) .

Flavour: less sugar, more starch- these bananas boast a taste and texture somewhat similar to a potato, getting sweeter as they ripen

Preparation: must be cooked- can be fried, boiled, baked, pickled, sautéed, mashed and stewed




Availability: all year

Use: the banana heart within the bud can be prepared like a vegetable and adds wonderful texture to dishes

Appearance: unopened, crimson red-purple bud

Flavour: rich, creamy, nutty flavour, however the stamens of the flowers inside can lend it a sharp/bitter edge

Preparation: once cut drizzle use lemon/lime mix to prevent discolouration. To soften the sometimes astringent edge, the heart is often soaked/steamed before use- then grilled, chopped into salads



image: www.uq.edu.au

Availability: all year- please note there is a minimum 7 day turnaround for orders of banana arms

Use: highly ornamental

Appearance: green dessert bananas still attached to the

Flavour: the bananas on the arm are Cavendish, therefore dessert bananas


LADYFINGER BANANAS: aka sugar bananas

Image: wwww.marketfresh.com.au

Availability: all year

Use: dessert banana

Appearance: short banana with a very thin skin

Flavour: very sweet

Preparation: eat fresh or sliced into desserts, salads etc



Image: www.marketfresh.com.au

Available: all year

Appearance: bright green, ridged leaves

Use: ornamental or wrapping food into a parcel that is to be grilled, steamed, boiled

Flavour: not eaten but lend a flavour to the food they wrap/contain

Preparation: pass over a flame (heat source) before using as a wrap as this will make them more hardy and prevent them from tearing.


Grilled chicken and banana flower salad via SBS Food – see full recipe here

Image: SBS Food

BUYER'S GUIDE: Asian/Exotics 30th Oct- 5th Nov


Not Available: Luffas * Sin Que * Tamarind

Short Supply: Kachay * Water Spinach



Short Supply: Figs

Not Available: Asian Plum * Buddha Hands * Cumquats * Custard Apple * Fuji Fruit * Guava (cooking) * Juju Fruit * Kaffir Limes * Persimmon * Rambutan *  Tamarillo (gold) * Tangellos * Winter Melon

BUYER'S GUIDE: 30th Oct - 5th Nov


The Buy list: Granny Smith & Delicious Apples, Blueberries, Ruby Grapefruit, USA Grapes, NZ Kiwifruit, Honey Murcott Mandarins, Mangos, Navel Oranges, Paw paw, Red Papaya, Pineapples, Rockmelons, Strawberries, Seedless & Champagne Watermelons

The Watch List: Figs (Price) Limes (Price) Passionfruit (Price)

Market Insights: It is a good week for fruit. New season Stone fruit has commenced and with rather solid supplies. Apricots, Cherries, Plums from SA. Peaches, Nectarines from NSW. Also commencing week are the Exotics: NT Dragonfruit, NT Carambola, NT Mangosteens, QLD Lychees and Imported Red Pomelo. There are no real shorts, just the 3 on the watch list due to price. 


The Buy list: Globe Artichokes, Asparagus, Beans, Broad Beans, Beetroot, Broccoli, All Capsicums, Carrots, Cauliflowers, Celery, Chicory, Lebanese Cucumbers, Edible Flowers & Zucchini Flowers, Eggplant, Aussie Garlic, Kale, Kohlrabi, Leeks, All Lettuce, Mushrooms, Green Peas, Salad Mixes, Silverbeet, Spring Onions, Sweet Corn, Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes, Zucchini and Pumpkin.  

The Watch List: All Clear! 

Market Insights: Due to the recent good weather all vegetables are in the clear. For something different this week- Baby Globe Artichokes, Purple Asparagus, Micro Herbs, Baby Gold Beetroot, Baby Vine Sweet Capsicums and Butter Beans


Fruit:  Blueberries (NSW) * Mangoes (NT) * Papaya (QLD) * Pineapple (QLD) * Seedless Watermelon (QLD)

Vegetable: Asparagus - medium (VIC) * Broccoli (NSW) * Cauliflower (NSW) * Green Beans (QLD) * Mesclun Lettuce (VIC)


Fruit: New Season Apricots (SA) * Champagne Melons (NT) * Australian Cherries (SA) *  Dragonfruit (NT) * Lychee (QLD) * Mangosteen (IMP) * New Season Plums (SA) * Pomellos (IMP) * Starfruit aka carambola (NT)

Vegetable: Purple Asparagus (VIC)


Not Available: Guava- cooking

End of Season: Black Salsify * Horseradish

Short Supply: Yellow Zucchini

Expensive: Passionfruit

Exotic Mushrooms

FRESH FACT: The oyster mushroom is used widely in Japanese, Chinese, Korean and Indian cooking and is often considered to be an ‘Asian mushroom’, in actual fact however the fungus was first cultivated in Germany (circa 1917) as a subsistence measure after WW1. Since this time, oyster mushrooms have gone on to become one of the world’s most important mushroom crops.

Mushrooms have been a prized food for thousands of years. Today we wanted to showcase the mushroom varieties- used widely in Asian cuisine- that are now enjoying broader culinary use and a growing popularity in Australia. Thanks to modern farming techniques, many of these varieties are now cultivated on our shores and with their unique flavour, texture and appearance they are an ideal complement to the lighter, delicate flavours of the Spring/Summer months.

AVAILABILITY: exotic mushroom varieties are available in varying quantities year round in Australia- with domestic produce farmed in controlled conditions and imported produce on hand we experience few significant breaks in supply. Please note: due to the highly perishable nature of these items SG&S buy fresh from the markets based on demand, therefore notice (minimum 24-48 hours) is required for the exotic mushroom range- in particular Namenko and Chestnut Mushrooms.


ENOKI MUSHROOMS: aka Enok, Enokitake, Enokidake, Golden Needle, Golden, Snow Puff, Vel

Image: www.mushroomchef.com.au

Appearance: beige to off white, spaghetti like stems with a small cap on top (wild varieties are light brown and bigger)

Flavour: mild flavour and crisp texture

Preparation: enoki can be eaten raw or cooked (think Shabu Shabu- hot pot), trim base and prepare as desired, if cooking add just prior to serving


OYSTER MUSHROOMS: aka Abalone mushroom, Pleurote, Hiratake, Tree Oyster

Image: www.mushroomchef.com.au

Appearance: fan/shell shaped with prominent gills on the underside (reminiscent of an oyster)- range in colour from white, to yellow to pink

Flavour: delicate, subtly sweet and very versatile- velvety texture they absorbs surrounding flavours

Preparation: best after a flash in the pan– team with fish, white meats & noodles- avoid washing, wipe with a damp cloth & trim ends. Order as required, highly perishable


KING OYSTER: aka King Brown, King Trumpet, Trumpet Royale

Image: www.mushroomchef.com.au

Appearance: stout mushroom with a small flat cap (creamy-tan in colour)- giving it a trumpet like shape

Flavour: hearty mushroom flavour

Preparation: trim end of stem before use- cooked it reaches its true ‘almond’ flavour potential- retains its firm, meaty texture under heat


NAMENKO MUSHROOMS: aka Nameko mushrooms, butterscotch mushroom

Image: www.li-sunexoticmushrooms.com.au

Appearance: sticky looking mushroom with slender white stem and amber- yellow rounded cap

Flavour: slightly nutty flavour, silky texture

Preparation: essential in Japanese cuisine, often cooked in stir-fries and miso soup- alternatively sauté, grill or roast



Appearance: cluster of bunched mushrooms with off-white stems and small brown-grey cap that get whiter as they mature

Flavour: when cooked they boast a mild, slightly nutty flavour with a firm yet tender texture

Preparation: cut stems off base before cooking- great in soups, stir-fries, sauces, casseroles, tempura


SHITAKI MUSHROOMS: aka Shiitake, Black Forest Mushroom, Brown Oak, Oriental Black

Image: www.mushroomchef.com.au

Appearance: broad umbrella cap ranging in colour from brown to black with light brown gills

Flavour: with a meaty texture and an aromatic, woody flavour this is a firm favourite

Preparation: remove stalk before cooking- pair with white meats, fish, pastas anything that wont overpower its distinctive, rich flavour. While too tough to eat, the stalks of shitake mushrooms lend a rich flavour to stocks/broths/soups.


WOOD EAR: aka Black Fungus, Ear Cloud

Image: www.mushroomchef.com.au

Appearance: grey-brown, shaped like an ear

Flavour: used mainly for their distinctive texture and ability to soak up neighbouring flavours

Preparation: available fresh, this is a favourite in Asian cuisine – think small pieces in soups, stir-fries and risottos


Market Insight- Pine Mushrooms, Ghost Mushrooms, Chestnuts and Pig Ear Mushrooms should be starting/becoming more consistent soon, we will keep you informed as to when they are available. For further information on mushroom varieties please visit our previous bulletins – Packed to the Gills and Into the Wild.


Dandelion, Melbourne- Tofu and mushroom pho with lily buds via Gourmet Traveller- see full recipe here

Image: www.gourmettraveller.com.au



BUYER'S GUIDE: Asian/Exotics 23rd- 29th October

Asian Vegetables: Not Available

Luffas * Sin Que * Sugar Cane * Tamarind

Asian Vegetables: Short Supply

Gai Choy * Kachay * Water Spinach

Exotic Fruits: Short Supply

Banana Buds/Bell * Figs * Juju Fruit * Mangosteen * Pomelos

Exotic Fruits: Not Available

Asian Plum * Buddha Hands * Cumquats * Custard Apple * Dragonfruit * Fuji Fruit * Guava (cooking) * Kaffir Limes * Loquats * Lychee * Persimmon * Pomelos- red * Rambutan *  Starfruit (Carambola) * Tamarillo (gold) * Tangellos * Winter Melon

BUYER'S GUIDE: 23rd - 29th October


The Buy list: Granny Smith & Delicious Apples, NZ Hass Avocados, Bananas, Blueberries, Ruby Grapefruit, USA Grapes, Honeydew Melons, NZ Kiwifruit, Honey Murcott Mandarins, NT Mangoes, Nashi Pears, Navel Oranges, Paw Paw, Rockmelons, Rhubarb, Strawberries, Seedless, Long & Champagne Melons.

The Watch List: Limes (Price), “PASSIONFRUIT (PRICE)”

Market Insights: WA Hass Avocados starting to roll in, expecting good supplies from now until Xmas of both NZ and WA fruit. Look to Blueberries, USA Grapes, NZ Kiwifruit, Mandarins, NT Mangoes, Paw Paw, Honeydews, Rockmelons, Pineapples, Strawberries and all Watermelons for best buy this week. Good quality Peaches and Nectarines now in solid supply. Passionfruit hitting the outer limits pricewise, use sparingly, same applies to Limes. Looking for something different- Plantain Bananas, Beurre Bosc Pears, Pomegranates & Champagne Melons!


The Buy list: Globe Artichokes, Aussie Asparagus, Beetroot, Broccoli, Red & Green Capsicums, Cauliflowers, Celery, Chicory, Chinese Melons, Choi sum, Kai Lan & Pak Choy, Lebanese Cucumbers, Edible Flowers & Zucchini Flowers, Eggplant, Endive, Aussie Garlic, Kale, Kohlrabi, Leeks, All Lettuce, Button, Field & Portobello Mushrooms, Fresh Green Peas, Mesclun Salad, Baby Gourmet Spinach, Silverbeet, Gold Squash, Sweet Corn, Sweet Potatoes, Cherry Truss Tomatoes, Butternut & Halloween Pumpkin.      

The Watch List: Brussels Sprouts (Size and Price), Celeriac (Season ending), Sugar Snap Peas (Supply and Price)

Market Insights: Good supplies all round on the Vegie front this week. The picks- Asparagus, Broccoli, Red Capsicums, Cauliflowers, Chinese Green Leaf Veg, Lebanese Cucumbers, Edible Flowers & Zucchini Flowers, Eggplant, Fennel, Leeks, Cos Lettuce, Button Mushrooms, Mesclun Mix, Gourmet Baby Spinach, Gold Squash,  Sweet Potatoes, Cherry Truss Tomatoes & Butternut Pumpkins. Something Different- Baby Globe Artichokes, Baby Gold Beetroot, Chicory, Micro Herbs, Kohlrabi & Fresh Soy Bean (Edamame).


Fruit:  Mangoes (NT) * Red Grapes (IMP) * Rockmelon (QLD) * Seedless Watermelon (QLD) * Strawberries- large (WA)

Vegetable: Button Mushrooms (NSW) * Cauliflower (NSW) * Cherry Truss tomatoes (NSW) * Lebanese Cucumber (NSW) * Red Capsicum (QLD) 


Fruit: Champagne Melon (NT) * Mangosteen (IMP) * Nectarine (NSW) * Peaches (NSW)  

Vegetable: Edible Flowers (VIC) * Finger Fennel (NSW) * Halloween Pumpkin (NSW) * Micro-herbs (VIC) * Portabello Mushroom (NSW) * Purple Carrot (NSW) 


Not Available: Guava- cooking

End of Season: Black Salsify

Short Supply: Starfruit (Carambola) * Sugarsnap Peas ($$$) * Yellow Zucchini

Expensive: Passionfruit