In season: Spring

John Picone with his home grown black sapote, or chocolate pudding fruit

BLACK SAPOTE: Commonly known by its much more delicious sounding name, chocolate pudding fruit,  black sapote really does have a look, taste and texture a lot like chocolate pudding.

Related to the persimmon, black sapotes are best eaten when fully ripe, so if you have bought one that is still quite firm, set is aside and wait until it’s very soft and squishy and darkens in colour. A good way to check is to poke with your finger – if it dents it is ready. 

For a divine chocolate mousse-like desert, blend one black sapote with one quarter of a cup of coconut milk , a teaspoon of cacao powder and a teaspoon of vanilla. Chill then enjoy. You can also add it to smoothies, mix in with a scoop of ice cream, or chill and enjoy as is.  Black sapote are in season now. John Picone at Picone Exotics says he has a bumper crop this year and the flavour is amazing.

BASIL: Fresh fragrant basil is back in season, with some beautiful big bunches available at the Gourmet Salad Hut in recent weeks. Great for pesto (try it made with local macadamias – it’s delicious), sprinkled in salads, on pasta or pizza or bruschetta. It’s best to use basil quickly, but you can store well for a few days – just make sure its dry, cut off the roots, and keep in an airtight container in the fridge.

CELERIAC: This root vegetable isn’t pretty, but it’s versatile and delicious, with a beautiful celery/parsley/potato-like flavour. Like other root vegies, it’s great in soups and stews, but can be used raw in salad. It makes a beautifully silky puree and can also be roasted whole. Find it at the Jumping Red Ant stall.

PEACHES AND NECTARINES Garry Rodgers, of the Honey Wagon has yellow and white flesh nectarines and yellow flesh peaches, which should still be available at the market over the next few weeks.


Coopers Shoot Tomatoes have some beautiful heirloom tomatoes available now, including some super sized Beefsteak that are full of old-fashioned tomato flavour. Grower Heather Armstrong is always happy to recommend varieties and will often have tasting plates available at the market so you can try before you buy. 


Not many farmers attempt to grow onions in our subtropical climate as they can be tricky, but Rod and Tania Bruin of Tyalgum farm Summit Organics were successful this year, growing a small crop that is quickly being snapped up. They come with tops attached, which you can also eat.


With spring in the air, it’s time to start enjoying lighter eating and adding some extra fresh and crisp salad greens to your meals. The Salad Hut is a one-stop shop for everything salad, and always has a huge array of healthy locally grown greens to choose from including fancy lettuce, baby spinach, tatsoi, rocket, herbs, and watercress (a peppery green that’s highly nutritious and excellent on sandwiches).  Also look out for The Salad Hut’s mixed salad bunches – a generous bunch of rocket, coriander, tatsoi, and red beet leaf or red mizuna which creates a fantastic mix of texture, flavours and colour.


A lot of love, time and effort goes into Byron Gourmet Pasta’s new take-home lasagna. First, local Coopers Shoot tomatoes are cooked for at least 24 hours for a rich tomato sauce, then the meat sauce, using local Hayters Hill beef is also slow cooked for 24 hours. A creamy bechamel is made, then it’s all constructed using Byron Gourmet Pasta’s hand made pasta sheets.  Available frozen from the Byron Gourmet Pasta stall, it’s a delicious and easy take home meal. (It also works as an ice brick to keep your produce cold while you’re out shopping and will be defrosted and ready to cook by the time you’re ready for dinner.)


Macadamia nuts make one of the best nut butters because they are so creamy and high in the good fats similar to those you find in avocados and olive oil. Macadamia is a delicious, smooth, dairy free alternative to traditional butter – spread it on toast or even add to baking in place of butter. Local macadamia growers Rainforest Foods, based at Tuckombil, create a range of macadamia butters available at New Brighton including a natural and roasted version, as well as their delicious Mac-Cao – macadamia butter blended with cacao (a bit like Nutella but a whole lot better in so many ways).


The Northern Rivers is a great place to grow coffee. The climate is well-suited and there are none of the pests or diseases that can affect coffee in other parts of the world. Known for its sweet chocolatey taste, local coffee is also naturally low in caffeine (which means you can have that second cup without getting the jitters). For coffee by the cup and take home bags of beans visit Myocum Coffee or Bangalow Coffee.

BERRIES: Blueberry Fields have teir delicious blueberries available fresh in punnets or as seconds in bulk buckets. Monty’s have delicious local strawberries.

PECANS: Northern NSW may be famous for macadamias, but it’s also one of the country’s biggest pecan-producing regions. Like macadamias, pecans are  full of healthy fats and a good source of fibre. They’re delicious in cakes and desserts, sprinkled in salads for some extra crunch and nutrition, or on your morning porridge. Store them in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer to keep them at their best and their nutrients intact. Available from The Spice Palace and Nimbin Valley Pecans and Rice.B


Also in season now: Apples, avocado, bananas, beetroot, blueberries, broccoli, cabbage, capsicum, carrots, celery, cucumber, eggplant, fennel, garlic, ginger, green beans, kale, leeks, lettuce, limes, macadamia, mushroom, papaya, pecan, pumpkin, peas, potato, silverbeet, sprouts, sweet potato, tomato, turmeric, zucchini





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