It seems my greater world has 2 concerns. In regard to one they are at the mercy of the elements but for the second there is tangible rallying to take control…
Last week, we took an extended Labour Day public holiday long weekend and went to check out what’s happening at Taylors Arm. There were 2 main topics of conversation. “We need rain”… in a tank water reliant village if it hasn’t rained in the past week, we need rain. In this case, it was a fair comment though as there’s been little precipitation, barely a frost or even dew since our visit in early August. With a hot, dry summer forecast with only tropical thunderstorms indicated in the way of water falling from the sky, the situation could become ‘interesting’.
We had an early indication of the second subject of concern-conversation. Our neighbours who were absent, upon finding out via the bush telegraph our arrival was imminent, telephoned us enroute “can you water the tomatoes, we’ve put in enough to get us all through Christmas”…
We called into the M.I.L.’s to be regaled with pending Christmas tomato price woes, and plans for planting despite previous years concerns over unsuitable varieties and messiness, as opposed to roses and pansies which are far preferable. Desperate times are allowing for the desperate measure of a flower bed given over to salad…
We ventured to the local Woolies to do a quick grocery shop, and with no growers markets happening grabbed our vege needs also. To be fair (& controversial) the arrival of that Woolies has lifted the local supermarket game. Its fresh produce has been a breath of fresh air in the captive environment of a local co-op catering to mostly OAP’s who shop by habit, and minimally.
Tomato prices were much as I’ve become accustomed to (other than the 3 tiny heirloom beauties I picked up a few weeks ago from Eveleigh Markets at $16.90 a kilo for a special occasion salad). Checking my Woolies till receipt revealed red capsicum prices of $12.98 per kg which I’d failed to see at the time of throwing a large one in the trolley. The G.O noted it cost more than his t-bone.
A phone call from my aunt who also lives locally confirmed the great tomato dilemma, necessitating 8 plants plus assorted greens to get them through the hard times. With their huge mango tree and avocado also, visiting with them will definitely be on our agenda.
Arriving at TA, the G.O. wandered over to the neighbour’s yard to find 4 lovely tomato plants which he dutifully watered. Of greater significance to me was the arrival of another neighbour with a shopping bag of freshly picked garlic for drying.
Yesterday, being Domestic Goddess Saturday because the G.O. unhelpfully was at work, I ventured forth to do a quick shop at our local city Woolies from which I generally buy only grocery items not fresh produce, but feeling unmotivated I grabbed a few fruit & vege items. Again to be fair (& controversial) my purchases were equal & better quality to my usual non-supermarket sources.
The rest of this post loosely links back to an interesting post by Marianne at East of Málaga about Comparing the Cost of Living. My fresh food costs seem higher. In addition to corned beef at an outrageous $12.99 kg from the butcher, fresh local Snapper fillets @ $32.99 kg which were delicious enough to validate the cost, from the fishmonger, I purchased…
Roma tomatoes @ $8.98 kg… deep breath… at a dollar less than the fancy in my opinion overrated Truss, are delicious cooked and fresh.
Green beans @ $5.48 kg were crunchy and delicious, slightly overpriced I think despite being marked as a special.
Yet another exorbitantly priced red capsicum @ $12.98 kg which I used some for salsa and cooked the remainder up with leftover eggplant, red onion and over-ripe tomatoes for the freezer.
Bananas @ $1.98 kg. In August last year they were $15 per kg. My sister put photos on Facebook during her U.S. trip of her eating bananas (never a good idea) she paid US$0.25 cents each for. Yesterday the banana rack was emptying quicker than they could fill it. Mind you if you wanted organic bananas – $4.98 kg thank you.
Potatoes at $2.98 per kg for a prepacked 2kg and offered at $3.48 per kg loose…
Mangoes for salsa to go with the snapper. I managed to resist the Kensingtons at $4.98 each and bought 2 x Nam Doc Mai Vietnamese mangoes @ $5.98 kg. I have popped one of the seeds into a jar with water & Seasol to see if I can get it to sprout.
Season-wise, we are in south eastern Australia mid-spring. However the north of Australia is slightly ahead of us in terms of growing season, hence the cheapness of bananas and availability of mangoes. To me, fresh produce prices seem go up and down with the seasons and availability. I’m not overly concerned about tomato prices at Christmas as the season is expected to be good, and in the past the prices have been ok unless there’s been an issue with the weather causing a shortage.
Like Marianne, I’m interested to know your thoughts and what’s happening at my virtual neighbours’ supermarkets globally.
quick mango salsa recipe
toss together & leave for half an hour before serving
2 x Nam Doc Mai mangoes (or 1 x Kensington) depending on preference for slightly tart or sweet, roughly diced. Variations are sweet corn, tomatoes or white peaches
big handful each of finely diced red capsicum, Lebanese cucumber and green shallots
dash of sesame oil (any type of good oil will do but I wanted an Asian style salsa)
sprinkle of raw sugar (optional, to taste)
grind of sea salt
big squeeze of lemon juice (or lime juice/vinegar/dressing)