What I Learnt at the Markets: 5 Tips
So this morning I was invited to a media event at the Brisbane Markets. I accepted because it was a rare chance to step behind the curtain and see what happens at the enormous facility where most of the city's produce is sourced day-in day-out.
When we arrived (7:30am) the warehouse was bustling with people carrying boxes, forklifts ferrying pallets... it was synchronised chaos. And as we (a group of print journos and bloggers) toured the market, we were given the chance to speak directly to farmers. It was insightful.
While the aim of the morning was to explain the benefits of buying produce from family owned grocers, instead of big supermarkets, it's a cause I've always believed in anyway because it was simply taught to me by the savvy women in my family.
The tour ended with a cooking demonstration and breakfast by chef Dominique Rizzo (the cauliflower and broccoli fritters, seen sizzling here, were the highlight - recipe coming soon).
And after speaking with so many people I came away with these five obscure food tips that I hope are of interest to you too:
Avocados are ripe when the top stem drops off - no more squeezing.
Tomatoes, like bananas, release a gas that can help ripen avocados.
(Last avocado tip!) Avocados have been expensive across Australia for years because a severe storm damaged crops; it takes an average tree 6 years to fruit properly.
It takes 6-8 weeks for an extreme weather event (heavy rain/storms etc.) to be reflected in the markets. So don't be surprised by the delayed impact.
Supermarket produce tastes bland because, as an heirloom tomato grower explained, "When you drive yield you lose flavour." He produces a fraction of the amount of big growers.