Laura McKee

Fruit plentiful after a sudden hot spell

A WARMER start to August augers well for fresh produce with the recent higher temperatures in the growing regions resulting in a spurt of growth and plenty of supply to the Brisbane Produce Market.

In the vegetable aisle, look for cheap broccoli and cauliflower which have both dropped in price dramatically from recent weeks.

You will also find value-for-money, good quality Asian vegetables, beetroot, brussels sprouts, capsicum, carrot, snow peas, silverbeet and sweet potatoes.

Good quality eggplant, grown in glasshouse conditions, is expensive but if you don't mind some marked or out of size produce, you can pick up average quality eggplant at a reasonable price.

Be prepared to pay firm prices for asparagus (imported), beans, cabbage, fennel, leeks, parsnips, squash, mushrooms, onions, potatoes and pumpkin.

Sweet corn and zucchinis are firmly priced but they have already eased from recent weeks are are expected to fall in price further.

In the salad line, only cucumbers are firmly priced, with great tasting tomatoes, avocados, lettuce, mixed salad leaf and eshallots at a reasonable price for a healthy meal.

Herbs are also well priced with all your kitchen favourites plentiful this week.

August heralds the peak of the Queensland strawberry season, and already they are eating well, plentiful and reasonable in price.

Other berries, including raspberries and blueberries, are firmly priced.

For the budget conscious, look for honey murcott, afourer and late season hickson and imperial mandarins, navel oranges, cara cara (a sweet red coloured navel orange), New Zealand kiwifruit, honeydew, pineapples, passionfruit and pawpaw.

Rockmelons are also reasonably priced with the Queensland grown fruit at its best. Rockmelons don't ripen after being harvested but get softer.

Store them at room temperature but once cut, cover and refrigerate immediately. Select ones with a sweet aroma and a pronounced netting on the skin. It's background colour should be beige to golden.

Lemons and limes are expensive.

The best quality apples are firmly priced this week. If you don't mind an odd mark, you can find some reasonably priced ones on offer.

Bananas have firmed in price, as have pears, Northern Territory watermelon and USA grown cherries, peaches, nectarines, apricots and plums.

Keep an eye out for New Zealand grown persimmons and Australian carambola (star fruit) and rambutans