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6 July, 2021

Cold snap activates winter growing season

THIS week, I couldn’t believe it, I had to pull out a woolen jumper for the first time in a long time. By Gillian Molloy


While I’m sure we’re all feeling the added chill in the air this week, a positive benefit of the cold snap is that those lower temperatures have activated the growing season for our re- gional winter produce.

During a chat with Lyn Palmer from Ven- tons Tropical Blooms and Fruit, she mentioned to me that when the cooler weather arrives Pa- payas ripen much slower.

Also, the banana ripening period extends out from 12 to 14 weeks. You might notice that the skins of those slow-ripening bananas sometimes appear a bit more dull than usual but, trust me, they are as delicious as ever on the inside.

When I asked Denise from “Pure N Nat- ural Honey” if bee productivity is affected when the mercury drops she said with a smile, “bees don’t change their behaviour with colder weather, it’s the Bee Keeper that finds it harder to get moving!”

Kevin from Proserpine Seedlings assured me that “Winter is the best time for home gardeners” and the huge range of fresh corn, beans, cucumber, snap peas, pumpkin, brocco- li, chicory lettuce on display at his market stall this week certainly backed up those words.

For Dale Fortescue, cold weather is a sign that the last of his garlic is due to be harvested, but for Mars from “Fresh as Sweet as” it’s a sign that their first rotational crop of sunflow- ers would be ready for market.

Mary-Ann Refalo from “Nannu Johnny’s Farms” agrees with Kevin that it’s definitely the season for cucumbers but she also noted that our recent rainfalls haven’t helped some market items.

We should expect a small- er strawberry harvest because, simply put, “strawberries don’t like rain.”

Tomato lovers though, will be happy to find boxes beginning to make an appearance, but you’ll need get in early to grab those wonderful heirloom vari- eties.

In my wanders around the market, I love to pick up on such stories and I find I’m con- stantly discovering reasons why people love the GWFM.

Ray Nash, a customer of Karl Weir from Mackay Sugar Rush explained why he’s a reg- ular.

“I used to cut cane when I was young, and I just love the taste of freshly squeezed sug- arcane. Karl once gave me a taste test of his sugarcane and lemon drink and I love it even better those fresh-cut canes.”

Deb from Freckle Farm observed that while her young laying chickens egg produc- tion doesn’t change in the colder weather, you might find that your regular variety backyard chooks could go off the lay at this time of year, but don’t stress.

“They like to take a winter holiday, partic- ularly if they have a bit of age on them” she said.

And, speaking of Deb and the Freckle Farm team, their extremely popular farm tours make a return on July 3 and 4 so if you’re looking for something to do with the kids over the school holidays, go to www.frecklefarm.com.au/tours for details

A radio announcer friend once told me that he was always instructed to refer to rain as “liquid sunshine” and lately, there’s been a bit of it around.

We Northern Queenslanders don’t really suffer through Winter like some of my mates down south, but I have to admit, it was nice to put on jeans, boots and a scarf for a change. Don’t miss the latest great winter produce at the market right now.

Happy Market Shopping!


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