What's fresh at your local farmers' market
The Northern Rivers can lay claim to quite a few Australian 'bests' - the best beaches, best macadamias, best coffee, and undoubtedly, the best bananas. Local bananas are a little smaller than the North Queensland version (the huge ones you find in the supermarket), but they just taste so much better. It's our cool winters and longer ripening time that allows the sugars to fully develop and makes them taste so sweet. Local growers Neville Singh (New Brighton and Mullumbimby Farmers Market), Everest Farm (New Brighton/Mullum) and Mt Chowan Organics (Mullum) have plenty of delicious bananas available at the moment - lovely just as they are, in a smoothie or in cakes and muffins. In the hot weather they ripen very quickly, so go for the ones that are still a little green if you want them to last. Of course, you can always freeze bananas - peel and place in a ziplock bag and use as you need. Frozen bananas whipped in the food processor to a smooth consistency are a yummy and healthy ice cream alternative- add some coconut milk for an even creamier texture, then enjoy as is or top with nuts, fresh fruit or honey.
Easy summer salads need fresh leafy greens, and the farmers markets have some great choices to fill your salad bowl. The Gourmet Salad Hut (Mullum/New Brighton) is a salad lovers heaven - an entire stall dedicated to salad greens. Along with their big selection of fancy lettuce that includes cos, coral, green oak, red oak and mignonette, you'll also find some more unusual choices like wild rocket, pak choy, tatsoi, beetroot leaf and watercress, that will add some beautiful colours flavours and textures to your salads. Denise Latham (Mullum/New Brighton) and Church Farm (Mullum/New Brighton) also have a variety of fresh lettuce and salad mixes available. To keep your greens fresher longer, chop off the roots and store in the fridge in an airtight bag or container.
What's a pav without some passionfruit on top? Lucky for us, local growers are picking plenty of these sweet fruits at the moment, just as good in fruit salads, drinks or on their own as they are on top of the classic Aussie summer dessert. Find fresh passionfruit at Jumping Red Ant (New Brighton/Mullum) and Everest Farm (Mullum/New Brighton).