Fresh food has arrived at Grand Central

Celebrate the opening of Toowoomba fresh with our guide to seasonal produce

Spring is the season of flavoursome fruit and vege. From juicy tropical fruits like pineapple, banana, watermelon and kiwi fruit, to the distinctive flavour profiles of vegetables like corn, zucchini and asparagus. Now is the time to let your taste buds bloom.

To celebrate the opening of Toowoomba Fresh at Grand Central, we take a look at some of the quality produce that’s in season this spring, with a few handy hints on how to use it.

BLOOD ORANGES

Originally harvested in China and the Southern Mediterranean (you may be familiar with the Sicilian orange), blood oranges are now grown locally in Australia. The Citrus Australia organisation has reported growing demand for the intense flavours of blood oranges over the last few years, with the thicker skin of the fruits making them especially hardy for tough conditions. Look for firm and plump oranges to store at room temperature for several days.

Taste tip: Slice two blood oranges alongside fennel, almonds, feta and greens for a surprisingly versatile salad base.

BOK CHOY

History has it that this Chinese green – colloquially known as a ‘soup spoon’ – was introduced to Australia during the 1850s gold rush. An excellent source of vitamins A, C and K, fresh bok choy will keep for a couple of days in the fridge crisper. Look for bright green leaves and pale stems.

Taste tip: Bok choy delivers fantastic bang for your buck, with only a simple garlic and salt stir fry required to bring out its delicate flavours. The perfect accompaniment to an Asian feast.

ROCKMELONS

A descendent of tropical plants, the rockmelon is a fine fit for Australian conditions, and the subtle flavour profile of its firm flesh makes it suitable to everything from starter dishes to salads and dessert. Rockmelons are high in potassium and vitamin C, and should be kept cool in the fridge before and after peeling.

Taste tip: Serve rockmelon wedges with slices of prosciutto for a quick and classy antipasto.

MANGOES

From their golden flesh to their succulent seeds, the appearance of ripe, wholesome mangoes is the surest sign that spring has arrived. Early season Kensington Pride mangoes are grown in northern and central Queensland, as well as the Northern Territory, and there’s no greater joy on a warm day than peeling open a mango to enjoy its sweet, juicy goodness.

Taste tip: Combine freshly chopped mango with diced cucumber, jalapeno, red onion and coriander, and a pinch of salt and pepper, for a mango salsa.

RHUBARB

Another versatile veggie, the humble rhubarb shines in soups, tarts and even as a replacement for butter (when stewed). Generally speaking, rhubarb isn’t to be eaten raw, and its leaves should be discarded, but the stalks will keep in the fridge for up to four days.

Taste tip: Rhubarb pairs nicely with berries in tarts and pastries. Consider adding some sugar for extra sweetness.

Visit Toowoomba Fresh for free sampling and tastings throughout September.

When: Tuesdays and Thursdays only
Time: Between
10am and 2pm
Location: Level 1 near Woolworths