Produce report: December 16
Fresh, festive and fabulous fruit and vegetables to fill your trolleys with this week. Thank you to the fresh experts at New World for sharing their tips.
FRESH IN: Locally grown nectarines and peaches are in supermarkets now joining the first apricots of the season which always seem to get a head start. “You know summer is just around the corner when beautifully blush stone fruit start arriving in-store. Peaches and nectarines are at their best and most plentiful in the height of summer from January through to Feb. With warm dry weather on the horizon you’ll find ripe juicy stone fruit available at New World for an incredibly tasty price this summer,” says New World Fresh Expert Brigit Corson. The supply of berry fruit – raspberries, blueberries and blackberries – has really amped up and prices are decent too.
Elsewhere, more summery produce is filling shelves fast: there’s a good range of waxy little salad potatoes available, alongside the famous Jersey Bennes from Oamaru. New-season agrias are great quality too. You’ll also find loads of snowpeas and garden peas in supermarkets and just-arrived local beans for festive eating. “Grown mainly in the Hawkes Bay our growers hand-pick each bean pod by pod when they’re young and perfectly tender. When buying, look for blemish free beans with a firm texture. When broken the bean should ‘snap’ – a sign of freshness,” says Brigit. New season red onions are here as well. The local cherry and sweetcorn supply will increase as we head further into summer.
LOOK OUT FOR: gooseberries for English-style desserts. The season is a short one: here in December but gone after that. At Asian markets, you’ll find ong choy – the quick-cooking, hollow-stemmed and arrow-leaved water spinach that tastes similar to our more familiar type. Very popular in Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai and Malaysian soups and stir-fries. It doesn’t store well so buy and use the same day.
MOVING ON: Get your fill of asparagus while you can. Sad to say but the peak season finishes at the end of the month and it will be slim pickings after Christmas. Parsley is in shorter supply now.