Produce & products
We’re a pretty healthy bunch here in Noosa: with such an abundance of locally grown fresh produce, it’s not exactly difficult. Kale, once thought of as a disinteresting vegetable and now the superstar of leafy greens, grows very well in our climate and is easily found at the Noosa Farmers Market or most local greengrocers. Or if you’re a keen vegetable gardener (like me), you can often find yourself with a glut. Solution? Make Kale chips.
Mangoes are in season and although the majority of them are coming from the Northern Territory presently, it won’t be long before we’ll be eating Queensland mangoes. When mangoes are in abundance and inexpensive as they are now, I say make the most of them any way you can in your cooking. I devised this recipe the other day, as I had a fruit bowl full of mangoes and a large tub of beautiful local yoghurt from Maleny Dairies* in the fridge which needed to be finished up.
As an avid foodie, I love a good food festival. But having Australia’s premier food event just around the corner from where I live is a foodie’s dream come true! If you weren’t lucky enough to be at the 2012 Noosa International Food & Wine Festival last weekend, picture this: amazing food, gorgeous wines, a line-up of some of the best chefs in the world and first class entertainment in a stunning location.
The fingerlime is a native Australian bushfood, which provides a unique taste sensation. If you haven’t tried a finger lime before, you’re in for a treat with your first taste! Known also as “citrus caviar”, the interior pulp of the finger lime has a roe like appearance which “pop” as you eat them, releasing a fresh burst of lime juice into your mouth.
I’m fortunate to live within walking distance of Queensland’s premium organic grocer and café par excellence, Organika. Located on Weyba Road Noosaville, Organika is owned and operated by brothers Josh and Kris Barry, who have many years of experience in the hospitality industry and the fresh produce market as well as boutique fine foods. Organika’s tagline is “a passion for organics” and Josh and Kris are committed to quality and purity in supplying organically honest produce.
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.
Our very own Spanner Crabs Noosa has picked up two awards in the prestigious 2011 Produce Awards. Now in their sixth year, the Produce Awards encourage, showcase and reward Australia’s top producers in categories including “From the Earth”, “From the Dairy”, “From the Paddock”, “From the Sea” and “Artisan”.
Noosa Spanner Crabs was recognised as one of three medallists in the “From the Sea” category for their raw crabmeat, and was inducted into the new “Hall of Fame Awards” category which recognises consistent excellence.
All producers who entered the awards were shortlisted by a panel of Australia’s leading chefs from around the nation before being presented to the national judges – Matt Moran, Philip Johnson, Cheong Liew, Alla Wolf-Tasker, and Maggie Beer, patron of the Produce Awards.
Congratulations Spanner Crabs Noosa – we’re proud of you!
Living in Noosa I am lucky enough to have access to a wide range of interesting and innovative local products. One such product is Lime Salt, made by Suncoast Limes. This totally natural product is made using the highest quality Australian sea salt and limes grown on the Suncoast Lime orchard at Tandur, about 40 minutes west of Noosa. No additives whatsoever are used in this product, which always gets a big tick from me.