Heavy rain expected to drive up veggie prices

THE rain deluge that hit most of the east coast of Australia has affected the harvesting of some fresh fruit and vegetables, raising prices on good quality stock and shortening supplies.  

Broccoli is also at the end of its season, and join zucchinis as the most expensive vegetables.   

Eat your fresh broccoli as a soon as you can. For best storage, mist the unwashed heads, wrap it loosely in damp paper towels and refrigerate for up to three days.  

There are firm prices for good quality beans, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, celery, leeks, parsnips, snow peas, silverbeet, squash, sweet corn, mushrooms and imported asparagus.  

For those looking for more value-for-money options, there are still plenty of top quality Asian vegetables, beetroot, brussels sprouts, capsicum, eggplant, fennel, onions, potatoes, sweet potoates and pumpkin on your local fruit shop's shelves.  

Some salad items are also firm in price with harvesting and field conditions affected by rain.

Expect to pay more for tomatoes, lettuce, eshallots and some herbs, particularly coriander which is in short supply.   Avocados are also firmly priced as the North Queensland crop finishes and there is a small gap as the new harvest is expected from the Wide Bay region.  

Mixed salad leaf and cucumbers are reasonably priced.  

In the fruit line, bananas have firmed to a reasonable price but are still value-for-money as are rain-effected strawberries, Queensland imperial mandarins, navel oranges, New Zealand kiwifruit, rockmelon, average quality watermelon, pineapples, passionfruit and pawpaw.  

The best apples to eat are royal gala, pink lady and jazz but all good quality apple varieties will be firmly priced.   Raspberries and blueberries are firmly priced but expected to cost less in the days ahead.

Other firmly priced fruits include lemons, limes and valencia oranges which are slightly dry to taste at this end of the season.   For orange lovers, the cara cara, or red-fleshed navel orange is also available with its sweet, low acid flavour that is more complex than most other navel varieties.  

Pears are expensive but there are a wide variety to choose from with great names like corella forelle, packham’s triumph, josephine de malines and beurre bosc in season.  

USA pears, nectarines and cherries are available but they are expensive.  

In the exotic range, you can still taste a wide variety of unusual fruits including end of season Australian persimmons, custard apples, pomegranate, starfruit (carambola), persimmons, dragon fruit (pitaya), rambutan, black sapote (chocolate pudding fruit), chestnuts and rosellas.  

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