What's fresh at your local farmers' market
Ever experienced a "chilli high” after eating a hot curry or stir-fry? There's a chemical in chillies that stimulates the release of endorphins into your body, which is why some people get addicted to their fiery flavour. There's an excellent selection of chillies at the markets now, ranging in heat from just a little bit spicy to super-hot. Try Jumping Red Ant (Mullumbimby and New Brighton farmers' markets) for the popular jalapeno, long red variety and hot habanero, or Pam Morrow at Iona Herbs (Mullum) who has the bell lantern, long thin and chocolate habanero - one of the hottest chillies on the planet - as well as dried chilli. Neville Singh also has chocolate habaneros.
Finger limes are actually native to the Northern Rivers, where they once grew in the Big Scrub rainforest. Known as the caviar of the citrus world, the cigar-shaped fruit is filled with tiny beads that create a fresh lime explosion in your mouth. Perfect with prawns and other seafood or in a cool drink on a hot summers day. Rebecca Barnes of native food stall Playing With Fire (Mullum) has new season fruit now.
This versatile vegetable is in abundance during late summer. Chargrill to bring out the flavour and add it to salads, curries or use as a pizza topping. Fresh eggplant is available from Everest Farm (Mullum/New Brighton), Summit Organics (Mullum /New Brighton), Jumping Red Ant (Mullum/New Brighton) and Glenyce Creighton (Mullum/New Brighton).
Picone Exotics (New Brighton/Mullum) is renowned for many things, its fresh figs being one. They are pure, sweet honeyed deliciousness. Eat them as they are, top with marscapone for an easy dessert or add to a cheese platter. Available for only a short time.