Produce report: September 9
Buying in season will ensure you enjoy the best produce at the best prices and we can tell you exactly what you will find in the produce department with a little help from our friends at New World.
NEW IN: The first of the asparagus should be hitting the produce aisle around about now, likely to be a mixed assortment of thick and thin spears. As volume increases, so will the availability of graded bunches: the more robust, thick stalks for under the grill or on the barbie (doesn’t that sound like summer’s just around the corner) and the thinner spears for stir-frying or steaming. “Our fresh asparagus is hand-picked spear by spear, grown mainly in New Zealand’s plains and coastal flatlands, like the Horowhenua” says New World Fresh Expert Brigit Corson “When the local crop is harvested it really does herald the start of spring but they’re only around for a few months so love them while they’re here!”.
Brussels sprout lovers, take note. Although available until about October, brussels are at their best in the cooler weather so now is the (late-ish) hour for them. Black grapes from the USA, which were in short supply, are back and easy to find again. Kumara and cauliflowers continue to be great buying, carrots too. Look out for multi-coloured baby ones for extra visual appeal. “Local red capsicums are back on the menu and avocado is plentiful and excellent buying at New World” says Brigit.
LOOK OUT FOR: Pomelos. Its scientific name – Citrus maxima – says it all. The overblown relative of the grapefruit, pomelos are available in small quantities … but you’ll have to hunt for them. They have thick pith so peeling takes a bit of work but you’ll be rewarded with flesh that’s sweeter and less sharp than grapefruit. They are perfect segmented into a spring salad: a great match for chicken, avocados (superb buying now) or the good-quality new season scallops at the fish counter. Australian honeydew melons and strawberries are bridging the early-spring fruit gap.
MOVING ON: Local buttercup squash supplies have nearly finished and so imported produce is taking over. It’s the same story for our nashi pears. Australian green courgettes have also come to an end.