Q: What is a bouquet garni?

While the cold and wet weather has impacted on some fruit and vegetables lines (read: beans, rocket, zucchini flowers), we are pleased to say that our locally-grown ‘bunch’ herbs are holding up well this winter. Not only are they high quality, but in good supply and therefore fantastic buying at the moment. Simon George & Sons has an extensive range of ‘bunch’ herbs available and while Thai Basil and Garlic Chives are currently in short supply, the varieties listed below should continue to be among our best buys over the coming weeks. So why not take advantage of the favourable conditions and stock up on some of nature’s most vibrant, mouth-watering flavour enhancers.

Selection & Storage: When selecting herbs the general rule is to look for bright, fresh leaves, free of bruising or yellowing that boast healthy, firm stems. To maximise the shelf life of most bunch herbs place them in a glass of water, cover the top of the glass with plastic, seal and place in the fridge- change the water daily.




Availability: all year, best Dec - Apr

Appearance: bright green, oval leaves

Flavour: slightly sweet, grassy cloves

Storage: place stems in water, cover with plastic and refrigerate. Change water daily and use within a week

Preparation: delicate herb, once sliced it browns very quickly. Quite versatile, basil can be used fresh to accent a dish or can be used as the base of a sauce or to accent flavours such as tomato



Availability: all year

Appearance: bright green, pointed, smooth leaves

Flavour: earthy aroma, almost bitter edge

Selection: leaves should be bright green with a glossy top and boast a strong aroma

Storage: store in airtight container in fridge or freeze in an airtight bag

Preparation: slow cooking specialist, removed before consumption


CHERVIL: aka French parsley


Availability: Apr - Dec

Appearance: looks similar to parsley or a carrot top

Flavour: aniseed, parsley

Preparation: flavour is lost when dried or cooked, so use fresh in salads or as a garnish


CORIANDER:  aka cilantro

Image: freepik

Availability: all year

Appearance: broad bright green, feathered leaf

Flavour: pungent, distinct aroma

Preparation: use in Thai or Asian cooking especially curries, stir-fries, salads. Add stems of leaves as base of sauce, then delicate leaves prior to serving to get maximum flavour and as a striking garnish.


DILL: aka dill weed


Availability: all year

Appearance: fine, feathered, blue-green leaves

Flavour: light, aromatic grassy flavour

Selection: leaves should be nicely feathered and stems firm and healthy

Preparation: add just before serving to fish, egg, potato dishes or as a garnish




Availability: Spring - Autumn

Appearance: green stems and distinctive small, purple flowers

Flavour: delicate, floral flavour, with citrus overtones

Preparation: flowers and leaves can be used. Most often used in baking (ground into sugar), desserts, meaty stews, salads or as a garnish (even as a garnish in a glass of champers)


LEMON BALM:  aka balm mint, sweet balm


Availability: short season, spring-summer

Appearance: heart shaped, veined leaves covered with coarse hairs

Flavour: fresh lemon aroma and flavour

Preparation: Fantastic with fish. Add late in the cooking process or use fresh in salads or as a garnish. Combines well with Chervil




Availability: all year- peak in warm weather

Appearance: long grass –like stalks

Flavour: pungent, distinctive lemon hit

Preparation: peel tough outer layers of stem and trim base. If using as an infusion, bruise the stem to release oils before adding. Or finely chop into stir-fries, curries etc


MARJORAM: aka sweet marjoram


Availability: all year

Appearance: woody stems, small, oval leaves (that fall on opposite sides of the stem) and white flowers

Flavour: delicate and aromatic- sweeter and milder than oregano

Preparation: fantastic with roast meat dishes, in stuffing (vege, chicken or meat) and as a garnish on salads, egg and potato dishes




Availability: all year

Appearance: wrinkled leaves,

Flavour: refreshing, unique aroma and flavour

Preparation: savoury and sweet


VIETNAMESE MINT: aka hot mint

Availability: all year

Appearance: long, pointed leaves with a purple tint at base (distinct band across leaf)

Flavour: spicy, citrusy, pepper flavour – common in South East Asian, Vietnamese cuisine

Preparation: rinse gently and use raw in salads, summer rolls, shredded into laksa or stews



Availability: all year

Appearance: light green, wrinkled leaves

Flavour: sweet, refreshing mint flavour

Preparation: most commonly used mint variety for cooking – fantastic in savoury meat dishes, salads, desserts (chocolate) or cocktails


OREGANO: aka wild marjoram


Availability: all year

Appearance: tiny leaves and pink/purple edible flowers on a woody stem

Flavour: slightly sharp, warm, pungent flavour

Preparation: quite hardy, add early in the cooking process as slow cooking enhances flavour  




CONTINENTAL PARSLEY aka Italian parsley

Availability: all year

Appearance: flat, cut leaves

Flavour: refreshing aroma, mild flavour

Preparation: best variety for cooking as its bright flavour holds up well and will enhance the accompanying flavours in the dish


CURLY PARSLEY aka English Parsley

Availability: all year

Appearance: dark green leaves that curl up at the edges

Flavour: coarser flavour than continental parsley

Preparation: edible stems and leaves, refreshing and visually appealing garnish




Availability: all year

Appearance: long, sharp leaves

Flavour: warm, pepper

Preparation: a hardy plant, rosemary is often used as a base to roasting meat dishes such as lamb and poultry- firm woody stem also serves as a fantastic skewer that subtly flavours the meat as it marinades and cooks


SAGE: aka kitchen sage

Image: freepik

Availability: all year

Appearance: green, leathery leaves that are covered in fine hairs. They can be long and slim or slightly broader

Flavour: musky, pepper flavour

Preparation: good cooking herb especially with fatty or oily foods. Also good in soups, mash potato, marinades or baking


TARRAGON: a very delicate herb, tarragon tends to wilt after harvest. This does not impact the flavour


Availability: all year

Appearance: long, slim leaves on a woody stem with a stunning edible, yellow flower that appears in winter as its natural season ends

Flavour: spicy, aniseed with a slightly sweet, tart aftertaste

Preparation: a classic French herb, tarragon is a well known ingredient in béarnaise sauce and compound butters – popular herb for flavouring fish and chicken dishes



Availability: all year – easily affected by weather therefore supply can fluctuate throughout the year

Appearance: long, slim, glossy green leaves

Flavour: stronger than regular tarragon but still boasts the same slightly tart, aniseed punch

Preparation: use more sparingly due to its powerful flavour


THYME: best with strong flavoured dishes as it can overpower a dish very easily



Availability: all year

Appearance: woody stem with tiny, grey-green rounded leaves

Flavour: strong, pungent aroma – spicy, pepper flavour

Preparation: fantastic for slow cooking as holds flavour well


LEMON THYME: aka citrus thyme

Availability: all year

Appearance: small, heart shaped leaves (green/yellow) on a woody stem

Flavour: strong lemon aroma and mild flavour

Preparation: sweet and savoury




Availability: all year

Appearance: small, rounded pale green leaves on light green stems

Flavour: zesty, slightly bitter

Preparation: use torn into soups, salads, sandwiches or as a garnish


A: A bouquet garni is a bundle of aromatic herbs tied together with string and dropped into soups, stews, stocks and casseroles to add flavour. The bouquet garni allows chefs to capture the flavour of the herbs, while also having the freedom to remove them at any stage of the cooking process. While there is no set recipe, the  Bouquet Garni is traditionally known to feature parsley, thyme, bay leaves and possible marjoram- however celery, leeks, carrots and a variety of other herbs are often added into the mix. In fact, the Larousse Gastronomique notes that in ancient times the bouquet garni contained cloves and was wrapped up using a thin slice of lard.


Q: Which herb did Shakespeare say improved recollection? 

A recent spell of bad weather in NSW has affected the quality of local herb crops, with varieties such as sage and oregano tending to blacken quickly.  So, while we wait for the summer weather to catch up to the summer menu, why not let our delicious range of microgreens step up to the plate?!


Simon George & Sons sources our microgreens from Flowerdale Sprout Farm in Victoria as they produce top quality plants that are consistent in size, flavour and presentation all year round. Microgreens are herbs (or brassicas) that are harvested when the first adult leaves begin to appear. Picking at this immature stage has two benefits. Firstly, the natural oils in the plant are still highly concentrated resulting in a more intense, less bitter/woody flavour than the mature herb. Secondly, the plants are beautifully presented with small leaves, buds and delicate stalks that make them suitable for even the finest gourmet presentation. Also with over 40 varieties currently available, chefs are able to blend different herbs to create signature dishes full of vibrant colour and authentic flavour.




Flavour: Intense, clean clove flavour and fragrance

Best use: Italian- fresh or added late in the cooking process

Background: One of the most popular herbs in the world, Basil is synonymous with Italian cuisine (though in actuality it originated in far east Asia across India, Pakistan and Thailand)


CHARD: aka Bull’s Blood

Flavour: Beety, earthy flavour

Best use: Fresh in salads

Background: Considered to be one of the most nutritious vegetables in the world, as a microgreen it offers exciting colours and delicate earthy undertone to a variety of dishes


CORIANDER LEAVES: aka Cilantro/Chinese Parsley

Flavour: Intense and distinct spicy flavour, (touch of anise and pepper)

Best use: Asian or South American cuisine-  garnish on curries or chillies- fresh in salads, sushi, rice-paper rolls 

Background: A member of the carrot family, Coriander is native to Southern Europe and the Middle East. The leaves are often referred to as Cilantro while Coriander is the names for the seeds.



RED SHISO: aka Purple Mint, Japanese basil or Wild Coelus

Flavour: Sweet and spicy

Best use: Fresh in salads, soup or as a garnish.

Background: Shiso is the Japanese name for this plant which was traditionally used to dye pickled ume or mix with ume paste in sushi



Flavour: Nutty, peppery flavour

Best use: Salads, sandwiches garnish

Background: Only raw broccoli (yum) has more vitamin C and magnesium than watercress gram for gram



Carrot: Boast a delicate carrot flavour, perfect for salads or garnish


Chives: A fantastic way of adding that onion flavour to a dish without the pungency. Boasts a strong, slightly sweet flavour


Dandelion: Far from the Dandelion & Burdock of yesteryear, these wide flat leaves can be used as an alternative to rocket as they have a slight peppery finish


Lemon Balm: These beautiful furry, serrated leaves deliver a citrus aroma and flavour that is perfect for desserts or beverages (cocktails)


Mache: Also called Cornsalad, Mache has sweet, nutty leaves that are velvety and bright and therefore perfect as a garnish



Borage Cress- perfect for adding that cucumber edge to a G&T

Shallot Cress- mix with grassy Australian olive oil to add a nutty, onion flavour to a salad

Melon Cress- a great option for desserts, this as a definite rockmelon flavour perfect for use in sorbets or a garnish


The Flowerdale microgreens stocked by Simon George & Sons are supplied in ‘Living Open Pots’, which offer good shelf life and convenience of use. The plant sits in a composted bark mix with nutrients essential to its growth delivered in a liquid form during the watering process. Being soil free you can just snip them out of the pot using scissors and give them a gentle wash prior to use. Its best to store the pots out of the fridge (somewhere cool) and use within five days. Once cut, store in a sealed container in the refrigerator where they will keep for up to two weeks.

For more information on our microgreen range please contact Simon George & Sons.


A: Can’t remember? Then you need some rosemary! Long before Red Bull gave you wings, the Ancient Greeks and Romans wore garlands of rosemary to help improve their memory and revive the spirits. To this day it is still worn as a symbol of remembrance.


BUYER'S GUIDE: 06/12/11 - 12/12/11

As your eyes at the markets, here’s this week’s seasonal update from our buyers:



Full range and good supplies all round. The summer fruits (mango, nectarines, peaches, apricots, cherries & plums) are now eating with good flavour and are priced to suit.

We will be supplying local “White Seedless Grapes” as of this week and will be doing the same with red and black over the next 2 weeks. Wet weather in several of the growing areas has caused some quality problems but there is enough good quality coming in from other areas to cover supply.

Also there is a full range of berries available; Blue, Black, Raspberries, Red Currants and Strawberries to name a few!




Wet weather is taking its toll here on pricing but nothing over the top! Supply is good, quality is sound with only a few items on the short list.

As the summer weather slowly arrives we will see  products like Broadbeans, Globe Artichokes & Brussels Sprouts disappearing form the market place.

New Season Aussie Garlic is in full swing as is the range of locally grown tomatoes including Gourmet Cherry varieties, Quality Heirlooms, Cherry and Baby Roma Truss and Roma’s. The flavour of these local tomatoes is excellent.




Apricot (NSW)

Cavendish Bananas (QLD)

Cherries (NSW)

Mango R2E2 (QLD)

Nectarine (NSW)


Assorted Micro Herbs (VIC)

Green Bean (QLD)

Green Zucchini (NSW)

Sweet Corn (QLD)

Tomatoes- Cherry Truss (NSW)



Dragon Fruit (QLD)

Edible Flowers (VIC)

Flowers - Orchids (NSW)

Green Grapes (Australian) - (QLD)

Lychee (QLD)

Mangosteen (Imported)

Popcorn Sprouts (VIC)

Red Pomello (Imported- USA)

Rambutan (QLD)

Red Currants (VIC)




Broad Bean

Red Tamarillo


Lotus Root



Tomatoes- Yellow Teardrop


BUYER'S GUIDE: 29/11/11 - 05/12/11

As your eyes at the markets, here’s this week’s seasonal update from our buyers:



Cavendish Bananas- large (QLD)

Plums (NSW)

R2E2 Mangoes (QLD)

Rockmelon (QLD)

Watermelon (QLD)



Chat Potato - small (SA)

Cherry truss tomatoes (NSW)

Medium tomatoes (QLD)

New Season: Portabello Mushroom (NSW)

Telegraph Cucumber (QLD)



Dragon Fruit (QLD)

Lychee (QLD)

Mangosteen (Imported)

Rambutan (QLD)

Red Currants (VIC)

Edible Flowers  (VIC)

Popcorn Sprouts (VIC)

New Season: Heirloom Tomatoes (NSW)

Roma - Baby truss tomatoes (NSW)

Spring Onions (NSW)






Red Tamarillo


Asparagus - No2

Lotus Root


Winter Melon

BUYER'S GUIDE: 22/11/11 - 28/11/11

As your eyes at the markets, here’s this week’s seasonal update from our buyers:



Red delicious apples - small (NSW)

Cavendish Bananas (QLD)

Honeydew Melon (QLD)

Mango (NT)

Nectarine (NSW)


Green Bean (QLD)

New Season: Lebanese Cucumber (NSW)

Iceberg Lettuce (NSW)

Pontiac Potato (NSW)

New Season: Red Cherry Tomatoes (NSW)



Assorted Micro-herbs (VIC)

Blackberries (NSW)

Cherries (NSW- Ronn's)

Chestnuts (VIC)

Dragon Fruit (QLD)

Edible Flowers (VIC)

Lychees (QLD)

New Season: Heirloom Tomatoes (NSW)

Popcorn Sprouts (VIC)

Rambutan (QLD)




Green Cooking Papaya

Lotus Root


Gold Kiwifruit

Winter Melon


Q: With the urban sprawl of Sydney, do we have truly local produce available? 

The Crave, Sydney International Food Festival is well and truly underway with Sydneysiders (and travelling foodies) basking in the glow of World Class chefs and the latest food trends. Despite its international focus, the festival keeps some things close to home. The 100 mile meal challenge, is a series of events that throw down the gauntlet to Sydney chefs, challenging them to host an event where their menu is made up entirely of locally grown produce. There are over twenty 100 mile meal events being held this year, with sustainability champion Jared Ingersoll from Cotton Duck going so far as to host a 10 mile waddle.

 Outside of the Crave Festival, Sydney chefs are increasingly requesting local produce; actively embracing the market culture and the benefits of using seasonal ingredients with low food miles. A prime example is the redesign of Café Opera at the Intercontinental Hotel, where Executive Head Chef Tamas Pamer and Executive Sous Chef Julien Pouteau took on the challenge of using seasonal, locally produced ingredients in their signature buffet.

 Simon George & Sons works closely with Sydney producers and has a strong offering of local produce this Spring, much of which is grown within 50 miles of Sydney, never mind 100! To prepare your palate for the 100 Mile Meals series, here is a snapshot of some of our best produce from close to home:


Exotic Mushrooms-  Oyster (white, pink, yellow), Nameko, Enoki, Gold Enoki, Porcini, Shimeji, Shitake, Swiss Brown, Woodear

Heirloom Carrots-  Purple, White, Yellow

Carrots-  Golfball, Dutch

Beetroot-  Standard, Baby Beetroot, Baby Goldne Beetroot

Edible Flowers-  Season about to start 

Asian Veges-  Most ranges

Zucchini Flowers


Tomatoes-  Truss, Cherry Truss, Roma

Hydroponic Lettuce-  Baby Cos

Lettuce-  Cos, Iceberg

Garden Vegetables-  Shallots, Spring Onions, Radish etc

Herbs-  Basil, Rosemary, Parsley, Thyme etc

Sprouts and Shoots-  Bean Sprouts

Cucumber-  Telegraph, Lebanese




English Spinach






Get into the spirit of 100 Mile Meals with your own local produce menu. Contact Simon George & Sons for more information on this season’s best local produce.   

A: Yes. Greater Sydney produces 7% of the state’s total agriculture and 12% of its total vegetables. The Sydney region overall produces 90% of the fresh Asian vegetables consumed in the state and 80% of its fresh mushrooms (Ecos Magazine).  In 05/06, the Hawkesbury produced $61 million worth of veges, fruit and eggs, Penrith $32 million, Liverpool 19million, Camden $17milion and Campbelltown $3.4 million (Metropolitan Plan for Sydney 2036). Now that’s true local.