My (very early) morning foray to the Canberra Region Farmers' Market confirmed two things: 1) it's still very cold and spring has definitely not yet arrived, despite it being early September, and 2) there's a lot of fabulous produce starting to arrive as vegetable patches and market gardens around the region begin to get back to work!
Here's what's fresh and in season at this weekend's Farmers' Market.
Grab yourself some broccoli (and also cauliflower) - it's cheap, it's delicious, it's everywhere you look, piled up in pyramids of green florets. I bought a 1 kilo bag of broccoli for $3.
Rhubarb is also stacked high on tables throughout the markets. Don't eat the leaves, but cook up the stems with plenty of sugar, orange juice and water for a delicious stewed fruit mix to drizzle over yoghurt, muesli or ice-cream. Or dredge slices with sugar and cover with a flour-and-butter crumble for the perfect baked dessert.
Also available (and a personal favourite) is fresh young garlic. It's sold with the stems attached - I've chopped mine off for easy storage in the fridge. It's still very soft and you can't really divide it into cloves, so just dice it like an onion or a shallot all the way up the stem to the point where the leaves grow, then fry and use as you would normal garlic for an amazing flavour hit. It's sweeter than normal garlic and goes particularly well in mashed potatoes... which is what this lot is going into. The best price I saw for a bunch of this was $2.50... beware the stalls that want to charge you $4 plus.
Now is the time to get to the markets - the variety and number of stalls is picking up and the crowds have not yet arrived!