Archive for September 2011
Here in Noosa we are fortunate to enjoy a wide range of fresh, locally grown fruit and vegetables all the year around. A wander around the Noosa Farmers’ Market on a Sunday morning will confirm this. I am a big advocate of seasonal eating, and with such an array of fresh local produce, there really is no excuse not to plan your meals and menus around the fruit and vegetables that are currently in season. If you need further convincing, here are 10 benefits of eating seasonally and locally grown produce:
1. Produce that is in season locally is at its optimum taste.
2. Better health benefits for you – produce is higher in nutritional value when it is fresh and hasn’t been stored or transported over long distances.
3. In-season produce is at its least expensive.
4. Buying locally and seasonally is better for the environment – less air-miles for the produce to travel.
5. Local, seasonal produce lasts longer.
6. You won’t need to go on a wild goose chase to find what you are looking for – seasonal produce is readily available!
7. Food safety reasons – the fewer steps there are between your food’s source and your table the less chance there is of contamination.
8. Buying locally grown produce supports the local economy.
9. Deprivation leads to appreciation – think how fantastic that first peach of the season tastes!
10. Eating seasonally encourages you to try different foods and experiment in the kitchen.
At this time of year around Noosa and the Sunshine Coast, Cumquat trees are busting with ripe fruit. Many suburban homes have cumquat trees in their gardens as an ornamental, but sadly the fruit is left to rot as it is too tart for most people to eat. However, cumquats make fantastic marmalade – the perfect way to use that cumquat crop that you didn’t know what to do with.
Strawberries are so plentiful on the Sunshine Coast currently that they are almost giving them away. Last Sunday at the Noosa Farmers Market I paid just $6 for 3 x 500g punnets! When strawberries are this inexpensive, I am busy making strawberry jam, strawberry daiquiris, strawberry muffins, and one of my favourite desserts – Strawberry Ricotta Cheesecake with Macerated Strawberries. This light and luscious cheesecake is not too sweet, and because it doesn’t have a biscuit base like many cheesecakes it is lesser in calories (you could use low-fat ricotta for an even lower fat option). It’s also gluten free if you use gluten-free cornflour. If you’re serving a wine with it, a Late Harvest Riesling is a good match. Enjoy!