Isabella grapes harvested and okra inspiration.

What’s News at the Market this Week?

Local grapes are ripening beautifully at Sylva Lining Organics so Sylva has advised that they have their first harvest of Isabella grapes this week. These should continue to be available for the next month. The Isabella grape is a perennial deciduous plant used for the edible fruits and leaves. It also makes a delightful ornamental vine for creating shade in the summer. Ian and Sylva have been growing this grape for more than 15 years.
Some growers refer to Isabella as a dual purpose grape that can be used for an acceptable wine, delightful jam, and is eaten fresh as a table grape. Isabella has the unfortunate habit, however, of ripening progressively. For more info about the Isabella grape.
Sadly pecans have finished… Kaye and David from Tweed River Pecans wish to pass on their thanks to all their customers and assurance that their new season pecans will be at the market by late April. 

What’s GREAT at the Market this Week?

Now that summer is well and truly on us and some of our favourite veggie go-to’s are not on offer, it’s time to have some fun and explore the cornucopia of fruits and less well-known vegetables our local farmers work so hard to bring to our tables.
For instance, what about that funny little green vegetable with an even funnier name, OKRA (sometimes known as lady fingers… explanation necessary!). Available at Summit Organics this small, spear-shaped green veggie with a mild taste has been cultivated for hundreds of years. Although its origins are disputed (West African? Ethiopian? South Asian?) this plant thrives in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate regions around the world.
There are a number of ways okra can be prepared, however it’s often best known for its gooey texture when cooked in water and this feature actually makes it a great addition to recipes that you want to thicken such as soups and stews. Here are some wonderful way to prepare and enjoy okra:

  • Okra can be grilled – simply toss the pods (whole or if larger ones then sliced) in a bit of oil and your favourite seasonings – we used the delicious locally produced dukkah from Byron Spice Palace – and then grill them for about 10 minutes until slightly charred.
  • Fried okra is a popular dish that is crispy and delicious. Coat the okra with seasoned flour or cornmeal (I used coconut flour for a guaranteed gf version). They can be fried whole or in slices. YUMMO!

TIP: Choosing the smaller okra ensures that they are more tender for this method of cooking.
What’s not so well known are the amazing benefits from eating locally grown, organic okra – including being a huge source of dietary fibre (so great for feeling full, improving intestinal flora, improving intestinal transit time), a low-glycemic index to help keep blood sugar levels stable, rich in nutrients like vitamins C, A, K and folates, as well as being a great source of vegetable protein with up to 2 grams of protein per cup. Amazingly it can also support the healing of peptic ulcers, because the gel released during cooking coats the digestive tract when consumed.
For more information on its health benefits visit Dr Axe Nutrition