In now: The new season Jonathon apples will please those who love a mouth-watering tartness in their fruit. Check www.hawkesburyharvest.com.au for pick-your-own and farm gate sales. I made my first Bilpin apple-buying trip of the season last weekend and picked up Bramleys as well as Jonathons. Bramleys are famous for the way they cook up into sweet-tart fluff – just perfect for crumbles, baked apples and pies. I cooked pie following the recipe from Sister Rock restaurant at Borrodell winery in Orange where Borrie Gartrell grows 170 or so varieties of heirloom apples. Find the recipe here, and even better, come with me when we visit Borrie’s orchard on my Tastings: Orange tour in April. There will be pie! The full itinerary is here.
Best buy: Grape season is at its peak so there are great prices on seedless green and seeded black grapes. Currant grapes are a bit pricier, but are irresistibly pretty and tasty.
Bad news: Atrocious weather in Tasmania continues to wreck the leatherwood blossoms. Consequently honey harvests are expected to be 80% down this year.
In the vegie patch: Gardeners with zucchini need to pick every second day to avoid growing vegetable bludgeons.
- two new plums to try. Dapple Dandy is an American-developed plum-apricot hybrid. It has a freckled skin and ruby flesh with a beautiful ombra effect. It doesn’t really taste like a plum as the skin doesn’t have that zingy edge to it, but it is delicious. Don’t let them get too soft. Queen Garnett is an accidental discovery from Queensland ag department. After 10 years in development the plum is now available (at Woollies). As well as tasting great, it boasts unusually high levels of anthocyanins, the antioxidants that colour fruit red and purple. So those of you who love the idea of a superfood know what to do.
- okra is plentiful
- prices on tropical treats like mangosteen, dragonfruit, lychees and rambutans have rocketed with Chinese New Year. They’ll be back to normal in a few weeks.
- the locally-grown sweetcorn is terrific.