Extremely cold weather in North Queensland a few weeks ago is now having an effect on bananas coming into the shops this week. Instead of being golden yellow they tend to go grey on the skin, which looks terrible but does not have any effect on taste. Because they do not look so good, they are harder to sell so we are seeing cheaper banana prices. The overseas markets have now realized how good those blood oranges are that I have been raving about (I have a blood orange juice every morning) and with our weaker dollar they are scooping them up as fast as they are being picked, I don’t think we will see any real glut of these now this season. Nearly as good for juice are the fabulous new varieties of ruby grapefruit coming from Western Australia. These don’t look as good as the firmer brighter Queensland fruit that are around in fact they look a bit old and withered, but they too are fantastic to eat or squeeze for juice. All the berries are fantastic as are the papaya and gold kiwi. This month is when the best winter blueberries get underway from northern NSW. There are very few banana farmers left in the Coffs to Byron Bay district - most have now changed their farms to blueberries. Imported red seedless grapes are now arriving by sea as opposed to airfreight and so prices have fallen substantially. For me you cant go past a breakfast of winter berries, papaya and gold kiwi plus a blood orange juice.
Again some warmer days in our growing regions are increasing the harvest on vegetables. Products that traditionally ease in price in spring are showing signs of this happening although it is a few weeks until spring gets underway. Two products that I associate with spring are Aniseed and Artichokes and true to form, volumes on these lines have picked up and prices have started to ease. Snow peas, broccoli, capsicums, caulies and all varieties of cucumbers are doing the same. English spinach which does not do well in the heavy frost is now coming on as is spinach and Chinese cabbage. Lettuce, potatoes, and onions continue to be well supplied and prices remain very reasonable.