In season: Autumn

FLOWERS: We’re all spending a lot of time at home, why not make it more enjoyable by bringing in some beautiful things like fresh cut locally grown flowers. Jumping Red Ant has bunches of colourful gerberas and roses that will brighten your home and your mood.


Ballina fishers John and Julie Joblin of J & J Seafood have been catching plenty of whiting and mackerel in recent weeks, including Spanish and spotted mackerel. With its mild taste and lack of bones, the whiting is great for kids, says Julie. Mackerel is an oily fish, packed with Omega 3s, and has a stronger flavour, that’s often compared to salmon or tuna. Smoked fish specialist, The Bay Smokehouse, also has a new product – pickled fish. Fresh morsels of local caught blackfish fillets in a variety of spiced vinegars.


The new season is just beginning for blueberries, and punnets of fresh fruit are now available at the Blueberry Fields stall. It will be a while before the popular buckets of fresh seconds arrive, but buckets of frozen berries are still available.


The local avocado season has begun and the first pick, the Fuerte, are available now. With a nutty flavour and buttery texture, Fuertes are known as one of the best tasting avocado varieties. Find them at the Jumping Red Ant stall.


Ideal for winter soups, in cheese and spinach pie or as a healthy side, this nutritious leafy green is coming into season and will be at its best over the next few months. Tyalgum organic farmers Rod and Tania Bruin are picking the first of the season’s silverbeet, find it at their stall, Summit Organics.


We all know panic buying has made it hard to source some household staples – why not support local farmers and businesses and grab your essentials at the farmers market instead. You’ll find everyday staples at the market including bread from Crabbes Creek Woodfired and Scratch Patisserie, milk and cheese from Nimbin Valley Dairy, eggs from Woodland Valley Farm, potatoes from Jumping Red Ant and fresh and dried pasta and pasta sauces from Woodland Valley Farm and Church Farm.


The summer heat followed by the heavy rain and humidity took its toll on lots of local lettuce crops, which meant lettuce was a little scarce at the markets for a while, but farmers were quick to replant and are now harvesting lots of lovely leafy greens for your salads, sandwiches, soups juices and other meals. To maximise their life in your fridge, store in an airtight container. Find lettuce and other leafy greens at Glenyce Creighton Organics, Organic Forrest, and Summit Organics.


Fennel’s delicate, aniseed flavour is a beautiful complement to fish, pork and chicken. You can use slivers of fennel raw and crunchy in coleslaw and salads, or cut bulbs in half and roast with some olive oil until sweet and tender to serve as a side dish or in pasta. Preparing fennel is a bit like you’d prepare an onion form the garden –  trim first – cut the stalks from the top of the bulb, then remove any tough outer layers. Don’t waste the trimmed parts – the fronds can be used as a garnish for soups, stews, and pasta and the stalks in stocks. Find fennel at Jumping Red Ant, Everest Farm and Summit Organics.


Pumpkin is in its prime in Autumn and there is plenty at the farmers markets. Great in soups, roasted in salads, stir fries, curries, lasagne or try it in or baked goods like pumpkin bread. Don’t throw away the seeds either – give them a quick rinse and rub off as much stringy pumpkin bits as possible, dry on a tea towel, then toss in a little olive oil and salt and roast at 150 for about 20 minutes for a yummy, healthy snack.

Also in season: Apples, bananas, basil, beetroot, capsisum, carrots, chokoes, cucumber, dill, fennel, garlic, ginger, green beans, lemon, lime, macadamias, papaya, pears, pecans, potato, pumpkin, sweet corn, sweet potato, tomato, zucchini

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