In season

March 24

In now: Kanzi apples mix the sweetness of royal gala with the crunch of braeburn. Greenstars follow the kanzi harvest. The particularly high levels of vitamin C in greenstars means they don’t brown as quickly as other apples when cut.

At its best: The late-season plums have some of the best flavours. Look out for autumn giant and October sun.

Best buy: Brown onions are harvested in South Australia and Tasmania at this time of year. Bulk buy bags are a great bargain: share with friends.

In the vegie patch: Plant garlic cloves in good soil in full sun. Choose fat cloves and plant 15cm apart, 8cm deep. Harvest next summer.

What else:

  • dill will become scarce as the weather cools, so now’s the time for a dill and walnut pesto to coat beans, or for dill-rich tartare with fried fish
  • store nashis in the fridge, and eat while still tinged with green
  • some good bargains on sweet potato, also called kumara
  • lots of dragonfruit around.
In season

March 17

In now: Most persimmon grown in Australia are sweet persimmon which can be eaten hard and crisp, or let soften. Find them also called fuji fruit.

At its best: Rockmelons that ripened through the long summer months are now sweet eating. They are being picked in Hay and Griffith in NSW and in South Australia.

Best buy: Large zucchini that grew too fast for the pickers are a bargain. Not so good for salads or quick sautés, these are perfect for souping or using in baked goods.

In the vegie patch: Keep picking the flower heads off the basil to prolong the harvest.

What else:

  • expect some pine mushrooms to start popping up
  • broccoli is briefly pricey in the lull between the Victorian and Queensland harvests
  •  it’s the moment for Roman beans, also sold as flat beans
  • breakfast fruit is a challenge, with mangoes all but finished and oranges not yet begun. Go melon or custard apple or those peaches you poached when they were so good!
In season

March 10

In now: Collect chestnuts and walnuts from under the trees at Kookootonga nut farm in Mount Irvine. It’s open every day until the season ends in about six weeks. It’s a lovely way to spend a few hours; this is what it looked like last year:

Chestnut picking Mount Wilson And if you’re not sure what to do with chestnuts one you have them in your hands, have a look here.

Almost over: Enjoy mangoes for the next few weeks; when the trees in northern NSW are bare there’ll be no more local mangoes until October.

Best buy: Pumpkin prices have been heading south for years, and are now below the cost of production, causing many farmers to swap crops. Make the most of cheap pumpkin; it can’t last.

In the vegie patch: Throw a handful of blood and bone on the compost heap to keep it moving fast.

What else:

  • the citrus season is still weeks away so those mandarins, blood oranges, pomelo and navels are all imported, and of very variable quality.
  • the green seedless grapes are giving way to the crimson seedless, which I reckon have superior flavour.
  • plenty of hot pink dragonfruit around
  •  quinces have arrived in stores, but hold out for riper fruit.
Barangaroo Point

Barangaroo Point

Barangaroo was the wife of Bennelong, the Eora man who provided a link between the local people and Sydney’s English colonists. Bennelong had Governor Philip build him a hut on what became known as Bennelong Point, now the site of the Opera House, and in 2006 the neighbouring headland was named for his wife.

So what did Barangaroo Point look like when Barangaroo lived in Sydney? This is the question at the heart of our big new park, which opens this winter. I donned hard hat and hi-viz and took a tour recently with horticultural consultant to the project, Stuart Pittendrigh, to see what our new park will deliver.  Continue reading