Q: Which other locally sourced produce lines should I be looking out for at the moment?

While it may still be only September, I am already shifting towards alfresco dining (where possible) and adjusting my palate to the lighter, fresher flavours that go hand in hand with the rising mercury and my annual Spring health kick. I know I’m not alone and this week I wanted to share not only our range of fresh produce lines perfect for the next wave of salads and sides, but also show some support for our local growers and profile top quality produce that SG&S is currently sourcing from Greater Sydney/NSW based growers.  


LOCAL PRODUCT: Hydroponic Mix

There are a number of reasons to enjoy hydro lettuce, probably the most obvious being it is free of chemical fertilisers and pesticides. It may not technically be classified as organic but many consider it pretty close. Essentially a mesclun mix made up of ¾ leaf sizes (rocket, baby spinach etc) it’s a great base for any salad.

Image: www.letusgrow.com.au

Source: Sydney/NSW

Supply:  good supply, all leaf lines performing well


LOCAL PRODUCT: Oak Lettuce (Red/Green)

For further information on Oak Lettuce characteristics and availability, please refer to our past blog on leaf lines- A Touch of Frost

Source: mostly NSW, however product is also sourced from VIC when required

Supply:  currently performing well- supply, quality and price all good


LOCAL PRODUCT: Cos Lettuce (Standard/Baby)

For more information on Cos Lettuce characteristics and availability, please refer to our past bulletin on leaf lines- A Touch of Frost

Image: www.wiffens.com

Source: NSW

Supply:  Both Baby Cos and standard Cos are performing well, standard Cos is good quality and super cheap- making it one of our best buys this week. Meanwhile Baby Cos is fantastic eating



Not to be confused with Witlof/Belgian Endive which is also sometimes referred to as Chicory, this leaf line boasts a stronger bitter flavour than witlof, with production peaking in the warmer months.

Source: NSW

Supply: good quality stock, with supply plentiful and therefore pricing well



For further information on Endive characteristics and availability, please refer to our past bulletin on leaf lines- A Touch of Frost

Image: www.marketfresh.com.au

Source: NSW

Supply: good quality stock, with supply plentiful and therefore pricing well



LOCAL PRODUCT: Spring Onions aka Salad Onions

Growing up my mother referred to Spring Onions as Salad Onions, their softer flavour and characteristics make the perfect for lighter dishes

Image: freepik.com

Source: NSW

Supply:  great buying at the moment, quality is fantastic and supply strong


LOCAL PRODUCT: Dutch Carrots & Baby Dutch Carrots

For more information on Dutch Carrots characteristics and availability, please refer to our past bulletin on baby veg – Life’s Little Treasures

Image: www.marketfresh.com.au

Source: NSW

Supply: lovely sweet carrots arriving at the markets- steady supply and good pricing



The original Australian Spinach, not only is it great buying at the moment but full of nutrition and flavour

Image: www.fruitezy.com.au

Source: NSW

Supply:  One of our best buys this week Silverbeet is fantastic quality, great supply and priced accordingly


LOCAL PRODUCT: Cime de Rapa aka Rapini, Broccoli Rapa

A common cooking vegetable in Italy, the slightly bitter florets and leaves of Rapa make it worth adding to the shopping list as it goes beautifully

Image: www.wikipedia.com

Source: NSW

Supply:  featured on our ‘Something Different’ items this week Rapa is arriving in good quality and is reasonably supplied and priced at the moment


LOCAL PRODUCT: Field Mushrooms

Despite falling outside the usual peak period for mushrooms, most varieties are fantastic eating at the moment. For more information on mushroom characteristics, please refer to our past bulletin – Packed to the Gills

Image: freepik.com

Source: NSW

Supply:  Cup mushrooms in particular are fantastic buying and eating right now, however it is always hard to go past a magnificently meaty Portabello!


A: Our local farmers are doing us proud, currently supplying fantastic quality BERRIES- mulberries, blueberries, APPLES, ZUCCHINI FLOWERS- fruit attached, KALE, TUSCAN CABBAGE the list goes on. When it comes to serving up a stunning side you might want to consider our Asian greens which are almost entirely sourced from local farmers – chinese broccoli, bok choi, gai choy, choi sum to name a few. In terms of performance, the market is currently seeing good quality and price for Asian Greens, with the exception of Gai Choy which is in short supply?


Q: What is the difference between a baby leek and a pencil leek? 

Often in winter, we find pleasure in the oversized;  big coats, big coffees, big portions. But bigger isn’t always better, in fact this week we are paying homage to a range of fresh veggies that are desirable because they are small

Baby vegetable lines have been on the increase in popularity for a number of years. Not only are they more delicate in appearance, but they also tend to have a milder (or sweeter) flavour than their large scale brethren. Versatile and delicious, they are a fantastic addition to the menu as they are both practical and inspirational. So downsize with pleasure and enjoy our range of baby veges this winter: 



Image Source: www.marketfresh.com.au

Availability: best May – Nov

Appearance: small purple beetroot with long green and purple leaves similar in texture to spinach

Preparation: use leafy stalks like spinach/silverbeet or purple tuber as per regular beetroot

Flavour: sweeter, more delicate flavour than regular beetroot

Big deal: beyond its more delicate appearance, baby beets are more tender and have a finer texture than regular beetroot



Image Source: biovia.com

Availability: best May – Nov

Appearance: yellow coloured baby beetroot

Preparation: use leafy stalks like spinach/silverbeet or purple tuber as per regular beetroot- steam or roast to get the most out of their flavour and texture

Flavour: creamy beetroot flavour, though they are earthier and not as sweet red varieties

Big deal: offers a wonderful contrast of colour, more tender and has a finer texture than regular beetroot 


BELLA ROSSA CAPSICUM: aka baby red capsicum 

Image source: www.perfection.com.au

Availability: all year

Appearance: small, round, red capsicum- approx 1/3rd of the size of regular capsicum

Preparation: roast, bake, stir-fry, casseroles, salads 

Flavour: sweet, crunchy

Big deal: thinner skin than regular caps and perfect for single serve use



Image Source: www.perfection.com.au

Availability: all year

Appearance: elongated thin caps (approx 6cm)- red, orange or yellow

Preparation: minimal prep needed, use raw in salads or use in casseroles, stews, stir-fries

Flavour: crunchy, sweet and juicy

Big deal: ripened on the vine, full of moist, sweet flavour. Vibrant colour and holds shape well when cooked


DUTCH CARROTS: aka baby carrots

Image Source: www.marketfresh.com.au

Availability: best Mar - Aug

Appearance: small purple, white, yellow or orange carrots, still attached to the green leaves & sold in bunches

Preparation: perfect for baking, roasting, raw – even for pickling/brining

Flavour: sweet (purple are even sweeter)

Big deal: very tender, dutch carrots are perfect for serving whole as a side dish



Image Source: www.marketfresh.com.au

Availability: Mar - Aug

Appearance: small, orange round ball-shaped carrots with leaves still attached

Preparation: perfect for all types of cooking and roasting

Flavour: sweet, crisp

Big deal: look fantastic on the plate and are fantastic for cooking 


CONTINENTAL EGGPLANT: aka baby eggplant, oriental eggplant

Image Source: www.marketfresh.com.au

Availability: all year- best Jan - Jul

Appearance: thin, long eggplants varying in colour from light green to purple

Preparation: stew, fry, bake or grill 

Flavour: moist and succulent, not as acidic as full size eggplant

Big deal: cooks quickly, has a much thinner skin than regular eggplant 



Image source: www.fruitezy.com.au

Availability: Mar – Sept 

Appearance: small fennel bulbs

Preparation: both leaves and base are edible. Fantastic in Mediterranean dishes, they are compatible with sweet and salty flavours. Think salads, soups, casseroles, fish dishes

Flavour: slightly richer aniseed flavour than regular fennel. Leaves are stronger, base is sweeter and less pungent

Big deal: beautiful flavour coupled with a more delicate appearance on the plate



Image: www.allotmentplanplotter.blogspot.com

Availability: Mar - Oct

Appearance: pencil thin, small leeks (different to baby leek which are thicker)

Preparation: often used as a steamed side-dish or chopped into a salad in place of salads onions 

Flavour: milder leek flavour

Big deal: more delicate appearance and flavour than large leeks and therefore perfect as a side-dish or salad ingredient



Image Source: www.naturespride.eu

Availability: May - Oct

Appearance: small white or purple top turnips (approx 5cm) 

Preparation: great for salads, roasting, in casseroles, stews etc – or slice into stir-fry

Flavour: can be eaten raw as not as strong as regular turnip- sweet and peppery

Big deal: milder flavour, not as bitter as full grown counterpart 


A: It really does come down to a matter of millimeters. Pencil leeks are literally ‘pencil thin’ (approx 7-8mm in diameter), while baby leeks are a touch broader (average 11-15mm in diameter). While it may seem inconsequential, both pencil leeks and baby leeks boast a sweet, subtle onion flavour, this kind of distinction can make all the difference in achieving the desired aesthetic and balance of flavours on the plate.