Produce report: February 13
There’s no better time to whip up a big, vibrant Greek salad. The stars of the show — flavoursome tomatoes and cucumber — are two of this week’s best vege buys. Combined with olives and feta, this salad simply cries out for lamb (as those clever Greeks knew) and it’s a no-brainer putting the combo on the menu this Wednesday. February 15 is National Lamb Day and, as you enjoy your dinner, you may like to reflect on New Zealand’s own pioneers who, 135 years ago, sent the first shipment of mutton from Port Chalmers to London. We honour the occasion with Angela Casley's recipe below.
But back to tomatoes, which also partner beautifully with round beans, one of the cheapest buys of the week, and with basil which should be ready at your place to harvest. Keep Kathy Paterson’s green beans cooked with tomato and basil recipe close. It’s great to add to the late-summer repertoire.
It’s bound to be an uh-oh moment but the first of the brussels sprouts are coming your way soon. Shred them and add them to salads to keep the summery mood alive. Early hybrids of brussels sprouts start in February, others from May.
Cherries and strawberries are both are set to depart, but summer stonefuit continues to be plentiful and sweet. Greengage plums are about to join them in a couple of weeks. Despite their underripe appearance, there’s only a bit of tart and a whole heap of sweetness in a greengage. They are never too plentiful but well worth buying when you see them.
We’re excited by the arrival of chef Peter Thornley’s Longkeeper Living Micro Greens Range from Pukekohe, set to give your meals a real lift. Already selling to top restaurants such as Merediths, The Grove and the French Cafe, a capsule collection is now available at Farro Fresh. It includes a micro shiso, the Japanese and Southeast Asian herb (perilla) which tastes a little bit like licorice and a little bit like mint and basil. As a micro green, it’s great to top sushi, or with miso or soba noodles. Then there’s raspberry amaranth. Try it in grain bowls or salads and it’s wonderful with goat’s cheese. There’s also sweet and mild pea feather, along with micro lemon basil (as you’d expect, a natural with tomatoes, garlic and mozzarella), dijon mustard and micro rocket, grown from hand-harvested seed from California. Totally sustainable and natural, the micro herbs grow in a compostable medium without fertilisers.