WINTER HARVEST

Q: Can you really buy Artichoke brandy?

Recently a fellow food lover lamented that Winter was a “boring time of year for fruit and veg, there just isn’t much to get excited about”. I can understand the sentiment, at this time of year the markets are brimming with root vegetables, cabbages, apples, pears- all wonderfully delicious and versatile but somehow less exotic and alluring than Summer’s bounty. So, in a bulletin designed to kickstart your love affair with winter produce- we are profiling ‘5 Winter lines’ that the team at SG&S are excited about this year and sharing delicious recipes that showcase the delightful potential of these fantastic Winter finds. In the words of Pietro Aretino, “Let us love the winter, for it is the Spring of genius”.

 

WINTER FLAVOURS:

CITRUS:

The winter citrus season is upon us. Mandarins are at the markets and fantastic eating, as are navel oranges. All signs point to a bumper crop this year.

Supply: Mainly QLD and NSW

Mandarins: while available from March – November, these are at their best May – October

Navel Oranges: the winter orange these are available Jun, July and Aug

Blood Oranges: available Jun – late August

Click for Inspiration

 

ARTICHOKES:

While we are still early in the season; globes, baby globes and Jerusalem artichokes are currently available at the markets. They wont be at their nutty best for a few more weeks, but are still a wonderful addition to the menu.

Supply: Mainly NSW and VIC

Baby globe artichokes: good local stock arriving at the markets- at their best Jun- Aug

Globe Artichokes: still early but available. Peak product will be at the markets from June - Sept

Jerusalem Artichokes: already available, at their best from June – Sept

Click for Inspiration

 

USA CHERRIES:

The USA cherry season is always welcome, as it helps us survive the long wait until the Australian season starts up again in November. Expect more lush Bing fruit and creamy Rainiers again this year

Supply: California, Washington and Oregon

Early fruit will be available from next week, with the season traditionally spanning Jun – Aug

Click for Inspiration

 

TURNIPS/SWEDES:

While many believe them to be old-fashioned and dull, in our minds the delicious Tassie Swedes and local Turnips currently at the markets are vintage gourmet. Their peppery flavour and creamy texture, in addition to their nutritional value and affordability makes turnips and swedes a winter favourite at SG&S.

Supply: Turnips – NSW/VIC, Swedes - TAS

Despite being available all year, the cold weather works wonders for these root veges, meaning turnips, baby turnips and swedes are at their best May – Oct

Click for Inspiration

 

TRUFFLES:

While the Australian Truffle industry is relatively young, producers are unearthing spectacular, premium grade truffles from sites across WA and TAS (with small numbers harvested in NSW/ACT and VIC). In fact, last year around 3 tonnes of this noble, perfumed fungus was grown and sold in Australian markets. We can only hope that 2012 sees another bountiful harvest.

Supply: WA and TAS

Following a wonderful season in 2011, 2012 is looking to be just as promising for Australian Truffles with fresh, aromatic truffles expected to be in good supply from early June to August

Click for inspiration!

 

Other items of note for Winter: Star Apple (Jun- Nov), brassicas (in particular cauliflower) are predicted to be top performers this season due to the cold weather. Beans (broad and borlotti) are also expected to have a great winter with main supply now starting.

A: Yes. Known as Rossler it is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented and distilled Jerusalem Artichokes. This nutty-sweet brew has been produced in Baden, Germany since the 1800s and to this day  90% of all Jerusalem Artichokes harvested in the area are dedicated to producing this brandy like spirit.


FOUR SEASONS IN ONE DAY

Q: Are seasonal guides redundant now that many produce lines are available year round?

Despite all evidence to the contrary, February is the last month of Summer and soon the hot, sunny days (we were supposed to have) will begin to give way to cooler Autumn months. Inevitably, the changing of the seasons brings new fashion and food trends, which for chef’s means a revamp of the menu.

So, to help ease the burden of menu planning we thought we would literally give you four seasons in one day and attach our new SG&S seasonal charts to this week’s bulletin. These charts serve as a quick reference guide to the fruit & veges you can expect to see in the markets each month.

These charts are also hosted on the Season’s Best section of our blog, however for those who want something more permanent to keep in their kitchen, contact SG&S and we will issue you with a laminated poster version which covers the full year.

Seasonal supply does vary, with individual lines arriving at the market early, late or in fits and starts due to unexpected weather conditions. So, keep an eye on our weekly buyer’s guide. Posted on our blog each Tuesday, these guides outline the week’s best buys, new season stock and any notable gaps in supply. To receive these updates directly, click on the follow button on the blog homepage and enter your email address.

 

Happy planning!

 

A: In short, no! We may not live by the Cordoba Calendar anymore (Google that when your bored!) but knowing your seasonal produce is the best way to serve up a cost-effective and reliable menu- rain, hail or shine.  Not only will the fruit and veg you use be abundant and therefore cheaper, it  will also be more nutritional and taste better, having been harvested at its peak and spared from travelling long distances.