Q: What does the term ‘Three Sisters’ have to do with beans? 

After a difficult start due to wet weather conditions, the winter bean season will be kicking into gear over the next few weeks. So to help you get the most of out these nutritious, tasty pods we’re spilling the beans (pardon the pun) on what to watch out for this season. 

Beans have played a powerful role in the development of civilisation as we know it, due to their simple cultivation, high protein/amino-acid content and ability to rejuvenate the soil in which they grow. Beans are loaded with vitamins, minerals and protein which is highly valuable to those who have limited meat in their diet or choose to forego it altogether. 

Fresh beans varieties can be divided into two categories: edible pods and edible seeds. The beans eaten ‘pod and all’ are picked immature and crisp, while shell beans (those we eat for their seeds) are picked when the pods are swollen (but still not fully mature) so the seeds are meaty but tender. If the beans are allowed to fully mature, the resulting seeds are classified as ‘dried’ beans, which require different preparation methods to their fresh counterparts. 

Beyond these distinctions, when buying edible pod varieties such as green beans (or baby green beans), it is important to differentiate between hand and machine picked pods. Machine-picked beans are more cost-effective, however the manner in which they are harvested can cause damage or bruising that blackens when cooked. Therefore if the appearance of the beans is important for the dish, opt for hand-picked, they may be a little more expensive but they are much less likely to display these kinds of flaws. The tough string which gave these beans their ‘string bean’ mantle has now been all but made redundant due to selective breeding of non-string varieties, however some flatter varieties do still need to have the string removed.

Getting the most out of fresh beans can be difficult, with some bean varieties having multiple names, or even worse the same name being applied to completely different beans. Here’s our guide to the beans we’re buying this Autumn/Winter season.  


Image: Simon George & Sons

GREEN BEANS: aka French beans, snap beans, string beans, common beans, haricot vert

What: most common fresh bean in Australia, these are crisp and juicy with barely noticeable seeds 

Availability: all year, best May – Jul and Sept-Oct

Appearance: can be flat or round but all have approximately finger length crisp pods. Most commonly green with small light green seeds inside, however they are also available in pale yellow or purple varieties

Selection: choose beans that are firm, crisp with no soft spots or obvious damage  -avoid those with obvious seed bumps, as this means they are over-mature

Storage: store in a plastic bag in refrigerator, unwashed

Prep: trim stem end, cook uncovered in lots of water to stop the colour darkening 

Best for: stir-fry, blanch and serve as a side-dish or in a salad



What: small, very immature green beans, slightly more expensive but offer a wonderful crisp, sweet bean flavour

Availability: all year, best May – Jul and Sept-Oct

Appearance: can be flat or round but all have approximately finger length crisp pods. 

Selection: choose beans that are firm, crisp with no soft spots or obvious damage

Storage: store in a plastic bag in refrigerator, unwashed

Prep: trim stem end, cook uncovered in lots of water to stop the colour darkening

Best for: interchangeable with green beans, just more delicate in appearance


SNAKE BEANS: aka yard long bean, Chinese long bean

Image: www.marketfresh.com.au

What: long, thin green bean very popular in Asian, Middle Eastern cuisines – eaten fresh or cooked

Availability: all year, best Dec-May

Appearance: very long, thin olive-green pod that bends and constricts as it matures

Selection: firm, slender beans with minimal external damage i.e. bruising or yellowing

Storage: best fresh so buy as required, store in plastic bag in refrigerator

Prep: trim stem- end, snake beans are stringless so chop and cook as desired

Best for: Asian and Iraqi cuisine- best stir-fried or braised, otherwise use much like a green bean once chopped (soups, curries, salads)


ROMAN BEANS: aka Continental bean, Italian Flat 

Image: Simon George & Sons

What: a large flat bean that is used while immature and crisp

Availability: all year

Appearance: long, flat pale green pod that is slightly curved. 

Selection: bright, firm beans with no signs of bruising or discolouration – should snap when broken

Storage: store in a plastic bag in refrigerator, unwashed

Prep: trim stem end, cook uncovered in lots of water to stop the colour darkening

Best for: used interchangeably with green beans however the flat pod and larger seeds offers a very different texture


BUTTER BEANS: aka yellow wax pole beans

Image: Simon George & Sons

What: the yellow green bean

Availability: Dec - Jun

Appearance: yellow pod with slight ridging on the sides, houses small white-pale yellow seeds

Selection: look for crisp, firm pods that are bright in colour 

Storage: store in a plastic bag in refrigerator, unwashed

Prep: trim stem end, cook uncovered in lots of water to stop the colour darkening

Best for: adding colour and crisp, juicy texture to a dish



BROAD BEANS: aka Lima Beans (dried), Fava Beans (mature)

Image: Simon George & Sons

What: thick bean – grown mainly for the delicious seed, however can be eaten fresh when immature

Availability: Jun – Dec – there are some early season broad beans on the market now but in short supply

Appearance: leathery, round pod with a distinctly pointed tip – changes from green to black-brown as it matures. Seed is large and flat contained within a cotton-like lining

Selection: look for moist, firm beans. Smaller pods mean the beans inside will be smaller but also more delicate of flavour

Storage: store in a plastic bag in refrigerator, unwashed

Pod vs Seed: seed – though when immature and crisp (under 12cm) they are sometimes prepared like a green bean

Prep: double shell for best possible flavour: shell seed, then blanch, drain, rinse and peel off the tough outer skin

Best for: used widely in all manner of ways; in pastas, casseroles, soups, side-dishes, roasting, purees, dips,  salads, 


BORLOTTI BEANS: aka cranberry beans

Image: Simon George & Sons

What: variety of kidney bean with a delicious creamy texture and slightly sweet, nutty flavour

Availability: all year, best Mar - May

Appearance: beige pod with purple marbling. Seed is speckled in the same colours as the pod, however they turn light brown when cooked

Selection: fresh, crisp pods that are full and brightly coloured- avoid any with signs of wilting or dampness

Storage: buy as required and store in a plastic bag in refrigerator, unwashed. To prolong life, shell, blanch, drain and freeze in airtight container/bag

Prep: shell and cook gently to prevent its skin from splitting

Best for: Italian and Portuguese cuisines- soups, stews, casseroles and salads


A: Broad beans are the only beans native to Europe, all other bean varieties were introduced following the discovery of the Americas by Christopher Columbus. It was observed that the indigenous people grew corn (maize), beans and squash together in a system later known as the ‘Three Sisters’. This was sustainable farming at its best!! The corn provided shelter for the squash and a trellis for the bean vines, the beans returned nitrogen to the soil crucial for the growth of the corn and the thick vines and coarse leaves of the squash  deterred predators from trampling or eating the crop. Simply brilliant.  


Q: What plant did these vastly different vegetables stem from?

While they may seem an unlikely grouping, the Winter vegetables listed below are all from the same species. They are all classified as cultivars of Brassica Oleracea, one of the world’s most diverse plant species which includes kale, collard greens, broccoli, broccolini, chinese broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages, Brussels sprouts and kohlrabi. Due to human cultivation and careful selection over thousands of years, the various cultivars of Brassica Oleracea have grown to be distinctively different in both appearance and flavour. One thing they all share however, is their nutritional value, supplying much needed Vitamin C, A, K, Dietary Fibre and Folate during the cooler winter months.  What is often overlooked when talking about Brassica Oleracea is the wonderful diversity of textures, flavours and colour they can bring to a winter menu.  


Image: www.freepik.com

Availability: all year, best May – Sept
Appearance: tightly formed head of flowers on thick, green stalks. Flowers range from blue-green to purple in colour
Selection: avoid heads with open or yellowed flowers, as these have a bitter taste
Storage: in vented plastic bag in refrigerator
Prep: cook lightly to retain flavour and nutritional value
Claim to Fame: Australia’s 10th largest vegetable crop, broccoli is considered a super-food due to its anti-cancer properties and nutritional value

Click for Inspiration!



Image: www.freepik.com

Availability: all year, best May – Sept
Appearance: white ‘curd’ (tightly packed florets) on a thick white stem
Selection: avoid brown discolouration of the curd and look for fresh leaves at the base of the curd (if still attached)
Storage: remove thick, outer leaves and store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator
Prep: cut into florets and wash under cool water. It’s subtle creamy, nutty flavour make it perfect roasted, braised or fried in a warm winter salad, as a side-dish, pureed in soups or pickled
Claim to fame: good raw or cooked, cauliflower is packed with dietary fibre, folate and vitamin C

Click for Inspiration!



Image: www.freepik.com

Availability: all year, best May – Sept
Appearance: purple ‘curd’ (tightly packed florets) on a thick white-purple stem
Selection: avoid brown discolouration of the curd and look for fresh leaves at the base of the curd (if still attached)
Storage: remove thick, outer leaves and store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator
Prep: in the same manner as cauliflower
Claim to fame: vibrant purple colour caused by anthocyanins (antioxidant also found in red wine and red cabbage), delivers a sweeter, nuttier flavour than its white counterpart

Click for Inspiration!



Image: www.perfection.com.au

Availability:  all year – best April to late August
Appearance:  looks like a cauliflower that has a light green tinted curd
Selection: similarly to cauliflower look for tightly pressed florets with no discolouration
Storage: remove thick, outer leaves and store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator
Prep: in the same way as you would cauliflower – steam, stir-fry, or use in salads, crudités or dips
Claim to fame: a cross between cauliflower & broccoli, broccoflower is milder and sweeter than either parent and is high in Vitamin C



Image: www.perfection.com.au

Availability: all year
Appearance:  long, thin stems topped with small florets of tight green flowers (can also get purple sprouting broccolini)
Selection: look for glossy, bright green stalks and florets
Storage: in sealed plastic bag in refrigerator
Prep: wash, trim stalk and stir-fry, steam or boil
Claim to Fame: An Australian development, broccolini is a cross between broccoli & Japanese kale- it has an intense broccoli flavour yet looks more delicate on the plate

Click for Inspiration!


CHINESE BROCCOLI: aka Gai-lan, Kai-lan, Chinese Kale

Image: www.taste.com.au

Availability: all year
Appearance: long white-green stem, large dark green leaves and a small number of tiny florets  
Selection: look for clean, crisp leaves, firm stems
Storage: loosely closed plastic bag in refrigerator
Prep: rinse, then snap florets and leaves from stem. Most often used chopped into stir-fries or as a side-dish. Can be steamed, blanched, braised or stir-fried
Claim to Fame: no wastage, both stem and leaves are eaten. Has a slightly stronger broccoli flavour, which can be slightly bitter

Click for Inspiration!



Image: www.freepik.com

Availability: all year, best in Jun –Aug or November
Appearance: compact head of leaves that can be round, conical, loose or tight- with creamy white to green leaves and small white veins
Selection: choose heads that are heavy for size, with crisp, bright leaves
Storage: in bag in refrigerator
Prep: chop with a knife and use quickly to make the most of the flavour and nutrition.
Claim to fame: historically used as both food & medicine. It is very low in kilojoules but high in vitamin C, folate, potassium and dietary fibre

Click for Inspiration!



Image: www.marketfresh.com.au

Availability: all year, best Mar - May
Appearance: compact head of smooth red-purple leaves with small white veins
Selection: choose heads that are heavy for size, with crisp, bright leaves
Storage: in bag in refrigerator
Prep: when cooking add lemon or vinegar to water to protect colour, beware of colour bleeding into other ingredients
Claim to fame: has been used for pickling since the middle ages, however also lovely braised

Click for Inspiration!



Image: www.bbc.co.uk/food

Availability: all year
Appearance: round to elongated cabbage with wrinkly leaves that have serrated margins. Colour can be anywhere between yellow-green to blue-green
Selection: look for bright, fresh leaves and a head that is heavy for its size (though be aware that Savoy being less tightly furled that your standard green will be lighter)
Storage: place in plastic bag and store in fridge
Prep: prepare similarly to green cabbage, remove outer leaves and rinse before shredding into coleslaw, steaming, etc. Leaves can also be used to wrap ingredients
Claim to fame: slightly sweet with a tender crunch, Savoy is perfect for coleslaw. Often used in the place of green cabbage

Click for Inspiration!


TUSCAN CABBAGE: aka Cavalo Nero, black cabbage, Tuscan kale

Image: www.foodconnect.com.au

Availability: all year
Appearance: sold in bunches of long dark green leaves. The leaves are heavily bubbled with a thick, white vein from stem to tip
Selection: look for firm, plump stalks and bright, fresh leaves
Storage: store unwashed in a sealed plastic bag in fridge
Prep: traditionally used in soups and pastas or steamed, this is also a fantastic stir-fry vegetable. Tuscan cabbage can survive longer cooking times without turning to mush and is also eaten raw (without the vein)
Claim to fame: used both raw and cooked, Tuscan cabbage has a mild cabbage flavour which can sometimes be a little bitter. Quintessential cabbage for Italian dishes.  SG&S also sells ‘black cabbage’ - a salad mix of baby Tuscan Cabbage leaves that taste similar but are more tender and delicate

Click for Inspiration!


WOMBOK: aka Wong bok, Chinese Cabbage, Chinese leaves, Celery Cabbage

Image: www.dpi.nsw.gov.au

Availability: all year, best in May or between Sept - Dec
Appearance: elongated cabbage with large, broad leaves that are pale green with white ribs and veins. The leaves are not as tightly packed as ballhead etc
Selection: look for fresh, crisp leaves with no blemishes
Storage: loosely closed plastic bag in refrigerator
Prep: all purpose cabbage. Absorbs flavours so is fantastic in casseroles, stir-fries, soups or pickled (as with kimchi). Alternatively shred into dumplings, coleslaw, salads or burgers
Claim to fame: While not technically from Brassica Oleracea, this is so widely considered  a cabbage we have included it in this summary. Renowned for its good shelf life, mild, sweet flavour and crunchy texture, its leaves have a slight pepper flavour while the ribs are juicy, mild and sweet.  

Click for Inspiration!



Image: www.freepik.com

Availability: Mar - Sept
Appearance: look like tiny, green ballhead cabbages
Selection: look for small, firm, compact heads with fresh, green leaves
Storage: store untrimmed in plastic bag in the fridge
Prep: trim stem, remove tatty outer leaves then cut a shallow cross into the stem , this assists in even cooking. Do not overcook or a sulphur like odour will be released, drain thoroughly. Roasted with pancetta to bring out a lovely sweet, nutty flavour, alternatively boil, deep-fry, stir-fry or steam
Claim to Fame: Far out Brussels Sprout, these mini cabbages are undervalued as bitter old varieties and overcooking have given them a bad reputation. High in Vitamin C and K they are also shown to assist in cancer prevention

Click for Inspiration!


A: All Brassica Oleracea cultivars are believed to have been derived from Wild Cabbage which was native to the limestone cliffs of England and France (think the white cliffs of Dover) thousands of years ago. The Romans and Greeks were known to have cultivated cabbage widely in their gardens and according to ‘Classical’ texts by Theophrastus and Pliny, diverse cultivars were already available. Over thousands of years Wild Cabbage has seen every trait manipulated to our culinary needs. With the Cambridge World History of Foods still citing over 400 types of cabbage, we can only imagine how many Brassica Oleracea variants have come and gone.

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

BUYER'S GUIDE - 15/11/11-21/11/11

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



Cavendish Bananas (QLD)

Cherries (NSW)

Mango (NT)

Peach (NSW)

Blueberries (QLD)


Broccolini (VIC)

Red Capsicum (QLD)

Eggplant (QLD)

Rhubarb (NSW)

Yellow Squash (QLD)



Dragon Fruit

Green mangoes

Habanero Chillies

Hawaiian Sweet Potato

Micro Herbs






Small Granny Smith apples

Lotus Root

Purple Basil


Borlotti Beans

Yellow Zucchini


Q: How do I get that rich, pungent garlic flavour?

The first boxes of Australian Garlic are appearing at the Sydney Markets and though the season wont be in full swing for another 3-4 weeks, it is a welcome sight for chefs and foodies.

Garlic was introduced to Australia by early European migrants and in the 70s and 80s the local industry was growing steadily. This changed in the 1990s when cheap Chinese garlic begin to flood the Australian market and despite its smaller size and significantly lower quality, it hamstringed local farmers who couldn’t compete on price. Nowadays, local product accounts for only 10-20% of the garlic consumed in Australia, a very small piece of a big garlicky pie, with Australians putting away approximately 3,500 tonnes of fresh garlic each year.

Recently there has been a renewed interest in sourcing locally grown garlic due to its freshness and fuller flavour. To allow for import, garlic produced overseas is treated with various chemical pesticides and growth retardants. Between these treatments and the time it takes to reach our shores, imported garlic tends to have a less intense flavour and spongy texture.

The Australian garlic season runs from October to May with the main growing regions being SA, VIC ,NSW with some early crops from QLD.

There are a number of white, pink and purple garlic varieties available which can be grouped into either the hard or soft necked categories. Soft necked varieties are stalkless with large bulbs. The most common varieties, their flavour ranges from very mild to very hot and lack the subtle but more complex flavors of the hardneck varieties. Hard-necked varieties have a hard stalk, are smaller than soft-necked varieties and have fewer but larger cloves that are easier to peel.

There is a lot of confusion in the market over the names of garlic varieties being produced in Australia, but here are some of the more widely recognizable varieties.


Image: lardertales.wordpress.com

When: Mid Season

What: Soft neck originally from France, this is now one of the most popular varieties in Australia and NZ. Medium to large, it is white with 15-20 cloves per bulb. Stores well and has a rich flavour

Australian White:

Image: herbnursery.com.au

When: Mid Season

What: Californian type, large white bulb and cloves- selected in SA

California Late:

Image: groworganic.com

When: Late Season

What: Soft neck variety from cooler states- stores well. Dark pink skin with large bulb and lots of small cloves

Italian White:

Image: greenpatchseeds.com.au

When: Mid Season

What: Older soft neck variety that is medium to large and white-cream. It stores well and has 10-20 cloves

Italian Pink:

Image: thompson-morgan.com

When: Early season

What: Medium sized hard-neck variety with thin pink-purple skin. Stores well.

Elephant/Russian Garlic:

Image: worcsterallotment.blogspot.com

When: Mid-Late Season

What: Not a true garlic, this is closer to a leek and has a mild flavour. It has a large solid bulb and can be baked/roasted and included in a dish whole.


Image: www.clker.com

When:Mid Season

What: Large white bulbs that are quite symmetrical, many predict this will soon be nipping at the heels of Printanor


Image: www.clker.com

When: Early Season

What: Hard necked QLD selection with well-formed white bulbs that have a slight purple tinge. 6-12 cloves per bulb.


Spring Garlic: (Available October)

Image: blog.thecanalhouse.com

Flavour: Mild garlic taste

Use:  Entire plant. Just trim root ends and the tough parts of the green leaves.

Background: Harvested before the bulb is formed. Look for specimens with fresh green tops (no dried ends or soggy leaves).

Green Garlic: (Available November) 

Image: urbanacres.wordpress.com

Flavour: Mild- stronger than green onion but milder than mature garlic

Use: Entire bulb- skin and all. Just trim root ends and the tough parts of the green leaves.

Background: Green garlic is pulled prematurely when the stalk is fully green and the bulb has only a hint of cloves.

Garlic Shoots:

Image: chinesefoodtip.blogspot.com

Flavour: Mild garlic flavour, less pungent.

Use: Edible part is the stem, used in stir fries, soups or as a garnish

Background: Usually imported into Australia. These should be 10-20cm long and have no sign of bulb swelling

A: The key to a rich garlic flavour is freshness. Similarly to wasabi, the flavour and aroma of garlic is caused by the chemical reaction that takes place when its cells are broken down. This flavour is at its most intense shortly after the reaction takes place, therefore it is best not to prepare garlic too far in advance.  

Different methods of cooking also influence the flavour of garlic. To achieve an intense garlic taste, the maximum amount of oil needs to be released; therefore pressing, crushing and mincing are the best means of preparation to get this result. Meanwhile, chopping is good for stir fries and slicing is good for bringing that light garlic flavour to your dish.


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.


Q: How is it possible to have apples readily available for most of the year?

Far from being a ‘forbidden fruit’ there are 2.6 billion apples grown in Australia each year, with the majority being consumed domestically. In recent years the most dominant varieties have been Granny Smith and Pink Lady™, which between them accounted for approximately 55% of total production. However like any food, trends come and go, so here is an overview of the top varieties and what they’re good for.

 Pink Lady™ (Cripps Pink): Crisp, fine sweet flesh.

Best for: Cooking(salads, sauces and pies) due to the high sugar content

Background: Cross between Golden Delicious and Lady Williams. To be sold as Pink Lady it must meet quality standards set out by the Dept of Agriculture and Food, WA.


Granny Smith: Crisp tart, tangy flavour that gets sweeter as it matures

Best for: Baking, freezing, salads, sauces and pies.

Background: An Australian native discovered in 1868 by “Granny” Anne Smith of Ryde, NSW. One parent is believed to be the French crab apple. 


 Royal Gala: Juicy and aromatic- slightly sweeter than Delicious apples

Best for: Sauces but is also tasty fresh and in salads

Background: Royal Gala and Gala originated in NZ in the 1930s as a cross between Kidd’s Orange Red and Golden Delicious.


 Jonathan: Tangy (mixture of sweet and acid)

Best for: Snacking (early season only) and all purpose cooking

Background: Old fashioned eating variety from the US


 Golden Delicious: Sweet and rich

Best for: Eating fresh and baking

Background: Originated in 1912 in West Virginia, USA.


 Red Delicious: Refreshing mild sweetness

Best for: Salads and desserts

Background: Originated in Iowa, USA in the early 1870’s


 Jonagold: Sweet and juicy

Best for: Cooking-  hot or cold dishes.

Background: Originated in New York State in 1968 as a cross between Jonathan and Golden Delicious.


Fuji: Crisp and juicy with sweet honey tones

Best for: Eating fresh,  baking and stewing

Background: Fuji originated in Japan where it is a major variety.


 Braeburn: Sharp, sweet and juicy

Best for: Desserts and cooking (baking, sauces and salads)

Background: Originated in NZ in the 1950s and is now hugely popular worldwide, thought to be a cross between a Lady Hamilton and Granny Smith.


 Sundowner ™ (Cripps Red): Sweet and distinctive

Best for: Eating fresh, also good for baking as it keeps its shape

Background: Cripps Red (sold as Sundowner™) is related to Pink Lady™ and is a cross between Golden Delicious and Lady Williams. Originated in WA.


Seasonal Calendar:

 Picking Time      Available in Store

 Source: Aussie Apples


A: Controlled atmosphere storage enables apple growers to store their fruit for long periods without deterioration in freshness and flavour. Much the same as cold storage (i.e. regulated temperature and humidity) controlled atmosphere storage slows the ripening process even further by reducing oxygen and increasing carbon dioxide levels in the air. Early forms of this were used by the Romans who used limestone caves (with high Carbon Dioxide levels) in France to the same effect.