The fruit highlight at the moment for me are the Clarks’ pineapples. The staff shared one at morning tea last week and were blown away by the sweetness and juiciness. Pineapples are often picked too early, resulting in hard flavourless flesh with no sweetness. This is done to allow for long transport chains, but the Clarks are picking ours on Sunday and delivering Monday. They colour pick, which involves walking a patch and picking the fruit that have enough yellow to indicate ripeness. It can be tricky, and the best way to test ripeness is of course to eat them! Pineapples come on strong with warm weather, and although they can get sunburnt in really hot periods, there should be plenty around for the next month or two.
Also getting sunburnt in the last week were apples. They get a blush of colour on the sunburnt side, like a sunbather who has fallen asleep on the beach. Although they are fine to eat fresh from the tree, they will turn black when stored for any period of time at low temperatures. We shouldn’t have any problems this week with the summerdel and gala apples from Mario and Dennis.
There are more glenn mangoes this week from Richard, and just a few KP’s from Paul Flower who is having his first decent harvest year. Paul is also starting with his limes. You may see some limes with a yellow blush - this is not suburn but just the natural colour that limes get when ripening. Actually the more yellow they get, they more juice they contain and the thinner the skin.
I can’t believe there are any vegetables left alive after the past week. The veg farmers I speak to had to water almost 24 hours a day to keep things alive. Steve and Julie Stead are not sure if the Red Oak and Lingua di Canarino lettuce will hold up this weekend with another hot spell expected, but the mini cos should be okay. As with the pineapples, tomatoes are coming on strong - the Steads have plenty of romas, rounds and the superb heirloom cherry tomatoes we have come to love.
Just up the road, Jon Dukamp is harvesting a lovely mix of veges including purple and green beans; zucchinis; wombok cabbage and broccoli. That’s right, broccoli in summer! The micro-climate of the Granite Belt allows for growing of broccoli and cauliflower over summer with the right variety and conditions. Jon has a trial patch happening which he will harvest over the next couple of weeks.
We will have a couple of week’s break in corn until the next patch at both Mary Duke’s and James Branson’s places are ready. We also have a week’s break on lebanese cucumbers from Quentin out in the Lockyer. We do have sweet potato to look forward to in the next week or two however. Keep an eye out this week for some “stripy” eggplant from Ian and Bev McKinnon as well as long white ones. Both are heritage varieties that Ian has lost the packet for!
Persimmons are coming in early March from the farm formally owned by Heinz Gugger, but now being nurtured by Mick and Kylie Carr using the same Bio-Dynamic methods.