This week’s Q&A bulletin is different, because this week we don’t have the answers!

At Simon George & Sons we like our inspirational quotes and as we enter our second year at St Peters,  we’ve taken to heart JFK’s principle that “efforts and courage are not enough without direction and purpose”. So with these wise words in mind, we’re asking for your feedback and ideas on how we can deliver more of what you want and need in 2012. To have your say and answer 10 quick feedback questions, please click here.


For our final bulletin of 2011, we thought we would share with you our vision and purpose for the coming year. While most resolutions will be abandoned before the sun rises on New Year’s day, this is one that you can count on in 20-12.




At SG&S, we believe that knowledge is power and in 2011 we launched a number of communication initiatives that placed our clients at the forefront of produce trends. In 2012, we will refine these initiatives and ensure they not only continue to inspire you with the season’s best but get you the best bang for your buck.

  • WEEKLY Q&A PRODUCE BULLETIN (Q&A): Each week we send out a bulletin on the latest products or services to watch out for. In 2012, these will feature exclusive and relevant content from suppliers, chefs and critics
  • MARKET MUSE (SG&S Blog): The SG&S blog currently hosts our weekly produce bulletins, market updates, company profile, team bios and seasonal calendar. In 2012, we will be updating the format and including an industry page which will profile various chefs, their food philosophies and their latest creations using seasonal produce
  • @SGSSyd Twitter Feed:  The SG&S twitter feed launched mid last year as a means for SG&S to become part of the worldwide foodie conversation. In the New Year we will be continuing to expand our twitter network, answer produce related questions and keep our followers up to date on the latest news from growers, chef’s and the markets
  • SYDNEY MARKET TOURS: SG&S will continue to offer guided tours of the Sydney Produce & Growers markets. Hosted by Simon George & Sons’ Director, Damian George, these tours offer us the opportunity to learn about your preferences and share tricks of the trade learnt over 35 years in the industry.



In 2011 SG&S supported a number of industry events. In 2012, we are looking to go that step further and actively involve ourselves in broader industry initiatives that help develop and grow the Sydney foodie culture.



To stay relevant in an ever evolving industry Simon George & Sons is continually adapting our business and improving our service. In 2012, we will continue to implement innovations that offer our clients greater reliability, convenience and cost-efficiency.

  • Online Ordering: This year SG&S invested in an online ordering facility that is efficient, user friendly and ultimately cost-effective for our clients. Orders are submitted via a secure page on our website where clients can access past order history, new orders and pricing at their convenience
  • SG&S FLEET: SG&S recently upgraded our fleet of refrigerated trucks and vans.  Custom built, the vehicles cutting-edge design enables us to deliver fresh produce safely and reliably every time. A state of the art tracking system also allows us to provide instant feedback on the location of deliveries, monitor potential delays and streamline delivery routes to better serve our clients

Thank you for taking the time to provide us with your feedback. We appreciate your support and look forward to working with you in 2012. Keep an eye out for the first bulletin of the New Year on January 26th. Until then we wish you all the best from the team at Simon George & Sons

To enquire or place an order please call (02) 9519 1411 or email us at orders-stpeters@simongeorge.com.au

For our Xmas trading hours please click here


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.



Q: What does it mean to ‘cherry pick’ something

This weekend, Young, NSW, the birthplace of the Australian Cherry Industry, is hosting the 62nd National Cherry Festival. First commercially planted in 1878, Young accounts for 60% of the total cherry production in NSW. While NSW and VIC have traditionally been the cherry capitals of Australia, Tassie is hot on their heels as the home of our cherry exports, which is more the pity for us locals as the temperate maritime climate of the island produces lush, large fruit. 

A member of the rose family, the majority of eating cherries are classified as either a sweet (Prunus Avium) or sour cherry (Prunus Cerasus). Sweet cherries are believed to have come from a wild cherry once found in the Caspian– Black Sea region,  these cherries are delicious both fresh and cooked.  Sour varieties can also be eaten fresh but are most often used for cooking, baking and preserving due to their tart flavour.

In recent years, plantations have been established outside traditional growing areas in the hope of prolonging the traditional cherry season which runs from November to February. Similarly to strawberries, a constant supply of cherries is achieved by harvesting different varieties at staggered intervals. To achieve a consistent supply, some states will grow more than 50 different varieties of cherry. It is therefore difficult to compile an exhaustive list, so the table below focuses on the main cherry varieties in NSW, when to look out for them and what to expect.


New Australian selections are starting to make their mark but are not yet commercially strong, keep an eye out for Sir Dom, Sir Tom, Dame Roma, Sir Douglas, Dame Nancy and Sir Hans in coming seasons.

So far, the 2011 season has brought mixed fortunes for Australian cherry growers. Cherries are extremely delicate and rains or high winds at harvest time can spell disaster for growers as they can cause the cherries to split or bruise. While the Yarra Valley, Central and North Eastern VIC are projecting one of their most fruitful season’s in decades (if the weather holds), NSW regions are battling high rains that are already causing some of the bigger fruit to split. While still hopeful, local farmers are warning that NSW markets may see a smaller fruit size this year as a result.  

To kick of the season with a bang, here are some inspired cherry recipes to sink your teeth into:

  1. SAVOURY:          Roast Duck with cherries & roast kipfler potatoes
  2. SWEET:                 Watermelon, cherry and rose salad, with shortbread, yoghurt & cherry syrup
  3. PICKLED:             Pickled Cherries (have with duck, pork belly or blue veined cheese)
  4. SLAMMING:       Esta Bebida 2

To find out more about the delicious cherry varieties on offer or to place your order contact Simon George & Sons.

A: Cherries don’t ripen after they’ve been picked, so it has always been important to choose your fruit carefully. To cherry pick is to inspect something very closely, so you come out with only the very best.  With this in mind, how do you cherry pick a cherry?

A cherry’s colour is highly dependent on variety, so a darker skin will not necessarily be the best indicator of maturity. Instead, look for a cherry that is good and plump, with glossy skin and a nice green stem. Avoid soft, dull or bruised fruit or small hard cherries as they will lack flavour and juice.


Q: They’re tasty, but are tomatoes good for you?  

A member of the nightshade family, tomatoes, or apples of love as they were once known, were introduced to the world following the Spanish conquest of Central America in the 1500s. While it is now a staple ingredient in cuisines the world over, the last 500 years has seen this lush fruit compete with the rosebud as a token of love, named as the subject of numerous court battles and decreed as poisonous. Despite its controversial history, 2008 saw 130 million tonnes of tomatoes produced worldwide, with China leading the charge at a staggering 33 million tonnes per annum.

Technically a fruit, the tomato is most commonly used as a vegetable. This is due to the glusamate content of the tomato which gives it a rich flavour that sits somewhere between sweet and savoury, making them perfect for eating both fresh and cooked.

The tomatoes we see today are nothing like the fruit first cultivated in the Americas. Over the years, tomatoes have been specifically bred for the purposes of increased disease resistance and aesthetic appeal. These programs have resulted in higher yields for farmers and the dominance of tomatoes that are uniform of shape and intense of colour i.e. the round, red fruit we see today. Unfortunately, many people believe that these programs have also resulted in loss of flavour and texture.

With this in mind, we have seen a widespread increase in demand for heirloom (heritage) varieties, organic, truss and vine-ripened fruits, as they offer the most authentic tomato experience.


Beyond these distinctions, there are many other tomato varieties that are worth including on the plate:


Image: clearcreekseeds.com


Availability:       One of the favourite heirlooms, the oxheart is currently in short supply (as are all heirlooms) but is about to hit peak

Description:       Large, very fragrant heirlooms. Tend to have a stripy skin with background

Flavour:               Juicy with solid meat

Best Use:             Slicing, sandwiches


BELLA ROSSA (loose):

Photo: Simon George & Sons

Availability:       Generally available, though supply can fluctuate throughout the year

Description:       Appear similar to baby roma but are more square than egg shaped.

Flavour:               Firm and sweet

Best Use:            Salads, snacking, roasting whole



Photo: www.moraitis.com.au


Availability:       Generally available, though supply can fluctuate throughout the year

Description:       Dark brown/red when ripe

Flavour:               Low in acid which makes them very sweet with a distinctive ‘kumato’ flavour

Best Use:             Colour adds a unique twist to gourmet dishes. Dark brown are good for gourmet dishes, salads, sandwiches. Dark red is good for soups and sauces.



Photo: www.moraitis.com.au


Availability:       Generally available

Description:       Hydroponically grown these are a new variety. Dark chocolate.

Flavour:               Low in acid which makes them very sweet with a distinctive ‘kumato’ flavour

Best Use:             Snacking, salads, pasta sauces



Image: growingveggies.com


Availability:       December - March

Description:       Medium sized with dark olive skin and chocolate, red flesh

Flavour:               Sweet

Best Use:             Adding colour to a gourmet dish, salad


CHERRY (available loose or truss):

Photo: www.moraitis.com.au


Availability:       Generally available, though supply can fluctuate throughout the year

Description:       Small variety, around 2cm in diameter. Mainly sold as yellow or red fruit, though it is possible to get heirloom cherry and grape medley packs

Flavour:               Sweet and crunchy. The yellow fruit tends to have less acid and therefore be sweeter again

Best Use:             Salads, roasting whole, snacking


Photo: www.moraitis.com.au

Availability:       Generally available

Description:       These are the standard round, red tomato we know and love

Flavour:               Rich, full flavour

Best Use:             All rounder



Photo: www.marketfresh.com.au


Availability:       Generally available, though supply can fluctuate throughout the year

Description:       Small oval (approx 4cm) that comes to a point. Mainly sold as red or yellow fruit (yellow is slightly smaller), though it is possible to get heirloom cherry and grape medley packs

Flavour:               The red and yellow varieties are very sweet due to their high sugar content

Best Use:             Snacking


ROMA: (available loose or truss)

Photo: www.moraitis.com.au


Availability:       Generally available, though supply can fluctuate throughout the year

Description:       Medium sized, elongated oval fruit that is rich red when ripe

Flavour:               Sweet and juicy

Best Use:             A plum tomato, low water and seed content make them perfect for cooking. Hold shape well under heat.



Photo: www.moraitis.com.au

Availability:       Generally available, though supply can fluctuate throughout the year

Description:       Small, generally about half the size of full Romas

Flavour:               Intensely sweet, not as sweet as cherry tomatoes but still tasty

Best Use:             Salads, sandwiches, antipasto, roasting, BBQ



Image: finecooking.com

Availability:       Generally available, though supply can fluctuate throughout the year

Description:       Small fruit shaped like a pear/teardrop, this tomato can be red or yellow

Flavour:               Mild and juicy, yellow teardrops have no acid and are very sweet

Best Use:             Salads, snacking



Photo: Simon George & Sons

Medley punnets showcase a variety of heirloom cherry and grape tomatoes, that bring a fantastic array of flavours, textures and colours to the plate.

Availability:       Generally available, though supply can fluctuate throughout the year

Best Use:             Salads, snacking


A: Tomatoes are a nutritionist's dream. Generally a good source of vitamin C, E, A and fibre, they are set apart by their high lycopene content. One of the most powerful, natural antioxidants, lycopene has been proven to ward off various types of cancer by preventing the growth of cancerous cells. In fact, scientists believe that just one glass of tomato juice a day could have a huge impact on your future health. Interestingly, the lycopene in a tomato is not compromised by the cooking process, in fact the lycopene levels increase making it even more beneficial to the consumer.



Q: Where does the fresh fruit and vegetable in Sydney come from?

 There is no better way to get inspired by fresh produce, than to brave the early morning hustle and bustle of Sydney Markets with an experienced buyer as your guide. With an estimated 2.5 million tonnes of fresh fruit and vegetables sold through Sydney Produce Market and Sydney Growers Market annually, knowing the who, what, where and why of the markets, is the key to serving up quality produce all year round.

After more than 35 years navigating produce markets around Australia, Simon George & Sons Director, Damian George is a more than qualified host. Damian’s broad product knowledge and relationships with the wholesalers, makes for a morning packed full of information, banter and fresh flavours.

The Market Tour kicks off at the largest Flower market in Australia before moving on to the functional mayhem of the Produce and Growers Markets. Here you get to see first hand the vast range of produce on display and learn the characteristics that buyers look for in their stock. These unique insights can successfully give you the edge on the competition, whether it be a reminder that purple carrots exist or what not to buy that week. To complete the experience, the tour wraps up at Scala Café, where a good breakfast and a hot coffee sets the perfect tone for the day ahead.

 A: The Sydney Markets are the main source for the fruit and vegetables in supermarkets, restaurants, greengrocers, exporters and food processors in Sydney.  Approximately 120 Wholesalers, 394 Produce Growers, 172 Flower Growers-Sellers and over 160 supporting businesses are located on site at Flemington. The combined sales from the Produce and Growers markets reach an impressive $3 billion annually.