When your green grocer has over 20 years industry experience, you know he knows a thing or two about fresh produce. Luke Clasie, manager of Lamberts Fresh Produce talks us through what is ripe and ready this season.
There is a lot of talk around town about how hard Townsville is doing it. And it certainly seems that way, with small businesses closing down and empty shop fronts as far as the eye can see. The lucky thing for Lamberts Fresh Produce is that we sell fresh fruit and vegetables and there used to be a saying that fruit and veg is recession-proof as “everyone needs to eat.”
But we have definitely noticed a change in customers’ buying patterns.
While many customers have cut back on buying extra produce and reverted to more of the staple lines, shoppers are definitely more concerned about fresh quality produce that has flavour and will also last longer – so as to reduce on waste. Bulk buys are also proving popular, where we can buy a smaller line for a cheaper price, but still at the same quality.
We are always looking at where we can change and improve on our offers and what we do at Lamberts; the great thing is that this is only going to improve heading into our local season which kicks off in early April.
What happens to the produce after it has been picked is just as important as growing it, especially with cooling and storage. We have great relationships with over 50 growers who want to work with us so that we can deliver the best price, quality and service.
So come on in over Autumn and be on the lookout for some beautiful in-season produce. Some of my recommendations are:
Queensland has three major growing regions of citrus which include Emerald, Central Burnett and Bundaberg. Mareeba in the far north, is also home to an abundance of limes.
Delicious, juicy, vitamin C-packed fruit, all ripe and ready (just as the weather starts to cool down) and loading us up with nutrients in time for winter.
Imperial mandarins are now in season, and are generally the first mandarins to show their delicious faces. They make for a seriously good portable snack!
Queensland Navel oranges are also in full swing and are exceptional eating, and let’s not forget the humble, yet oh-so-versatile lemon. From a cool glass of water to a hearty roast chicken… it’s good in everything.
It could be the beautiful rich soil, the high altitude or the love of the farmers (perhaps it’s all three), but we reckon that Tablelands avocados are among the best in the country. Avocado harvest is well and truly in full swing and the first to be picked are the Shepards. Shepard avos are the ones with the bright green skin – all the time – meaning that the skin stays green even after the fruit has ripened. One of the best thing about Shepards is that the flesh doesn’t go brown once cut, so they are great for presentation in salads and other dishes.
After the Shepard harvest comes the Hass, and this is the variety that is the most common. It has a rough skin that changes colour from bright green to a deep, dark purple/brown hue when ripened.
Whichever the variety though, there’s a lot to love about avocadoes, so get them now while they are at their best!
CAPSICUM AND TOMATOES
Our friends in Bowen and Gumlu are kicking off their peak season, producing most of the tomatoes and capsicums for the Eastern states throughout Autumn. The produce coming out of this part of Queensland this time of year is robust and beautiful, so stock up and use them in pasta sauces, salads, or even ratatouille (check out our recipe)…. capsicum and tomato work so beautifully together!
And last (but certainly not least), there will be a great supply of tropical beauties such as local passionfruit, red papaya, custard apples and persimmion all in season this time of year.
Also in season this Autumn: apples, asparagus, eggplant, pumpkins, potatoes, beetroot, bananas, cabbage
A truly local small business supplying Townsville with huge selections of fresh fruit and vegetables, sliced and whole fresh cuts of beef, pork and lamb, fresh chickens, in-house made small goods and hams, and all of your stockfeed needs. Dealing with local farmers and producers from Bowen to Charters Towers and up to the Tablelands.
Lamberts Fresh Produce | 159 Ingham Rd, Townsville | 07 4721 1464 | lambertsproduce.com.au