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Industry News - Feb 21

Tuesday Mar 23rd, 2021
Posted by Sophie

“Produce is always a bit bonkers at this time of year,” said Karena Armstrong, Eat Easy judge and Co-owner and Chef of The Salopian Inn. That might actually be a massive understatement. The natural turn of the season coupled with an unusually wet summer (hello La Niña) and the horticulture industry’s labour shortages (many thanks to Covid-19 for that one) makes for a banger of an entry into 2021.

Agrarian communities are well aware of the annual tomato abundance of February and March, but this year’s season was particularly abundant. Everyone in Australia is enjoying the perks of old mate Niña — Tomato growers in South Australia, Victoria and Queensland have enjoyed reduced irrigation costs (more rain = less watering); and consumers are enjoying a sweeter tasting fruit. 

“Because the weather is really good, there’s less stress on the vines, so plants can focus on the fruit. There’s also hardly any sunburn damage,” says Riverland grower and Sixty Eight Roses winemaker, John Koutouzis. “We’re getting better fruit this season.”

Armstrong says the tomatoes in her restaurant garden are flourishing. “My tomatoes are just bursting (literally) at the moment. It’s like the last moment of summer is all packed into those overripe yet juicy numbers,” she says. 

Likewise, we’re witnessing a mammoth chickpea harvest this season. Australia is forecast to produce more than double the drought-reduced tonnages of 2018-2019 and 2019-2020… that’s more than 700,000 tonne of chickpeas in 2020-2021! Make the most of it (and help out the farmers) by scrolling down to the bottom of this email where you’ll find Eat Easy judge Emma McCaskill’s delish Chickpea Dhal & Homemade Papadum recipe.

And that’s the wrap! Talk to you next month - 

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