MARKETS: Some of the wonderful diversity of foods you'll find at the farmers markets.
MARKETS: Some of the wonderful diversity of foods you'll find at the farmers markets. Kate O'Neill

Experience new flavours

WHEN is the last time you tried a new food?

We're not talking a new flavour of chips here, or a new brand of biscuits, but a new fruit or vegetable?

There are some good reasons to mix things up in your diet. Not only does it break up the routine and bring a bit of excitement back to your palate, it's also good for your health.

At the same time, you'll be doing your bit to support some bigger causes, like diversity in agriculture and local food security.

There are hundreds of thousands of varieties of edible plant crops that exist, it's alarming to discover only about 3% of these are cultivated. The world's food supply relies on about 150 plant species. What you see in the fruit and vegetable section of your local supermarket is only a tiny proportion of the huge diversity of plant foods on earth.

By growing and eating more unusual foods you help save them from disappearing forever, and a trip to your local farmers market is a great way to discover new foods and help keep local food diversity alive.

Without the pressure to produce huge quantities of one crop, growers at the farmers market tend to diversify and experiment with new varieties. They'll often grow old heirlooms, or varieties that are specific to the region we live in, and whose seeds have been passed down through the generations.

For a good introduction to some new and interesting foods, try the New Brighton and Mullumbimby Farmers Markets:

Glenyce Creighton: Bitter melons, loofahs, bread fruit, prickly cucumbers, purple potatoes, okra and more; Picone Exotics: Exotic fruits including jujubes, starfruit, prickly pear, wax jambu; Wiccawood Organics (Mullum only) Asian leafy greens, vegetables, herbs and spice including shiso, aibika and celtuce; Iona Herbs (Mullum): heirloom varieties including purple and white striped Listada eggplant, purple carrots, beetroots, yacon and organic heirloom seedlings.


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