Big Question Marks

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Other Reason

Wow, more than a month has passed now since we made our big move to the Gold Coast, and it is still pretty great. We've probably droned on about the beach enough to make you all roll your eyes and make pukey faces, and whenever people ask us the reason we made the move, we'd still probably answer, "the beach," or perhaps "the warm climate". But, in case any of you are on the fence right now, thinking hard about relocating somewhere warm, we've got another, very awesome reason for you. The fruit!

Yes, over the past few weeks we've been enjoying the most delicious, perfect avocados we've ever seen. And these are apparently the "battered" ones, the cyclone survivors. Sadly, Australia lost a massive amount of produce during all the weather disasters during the past few months. It's probably an awful time to be a farmer here — but then again, is there ever a good time to be a commercial farmer in this crazy country?

We're not sure how much an avocado used to cost in the grocery stores here — it's between $1.50 and $1.78 an avocado at the moment — but it's worth it for our new favourite breakfast — avocado and tomato, with cheese melted over top on an English muffin. Yum! And we've been spending a lot of time drooling over recipes on this website.

Bananas are another story. Delicious as they are, it's pretty hard to pay $12.98 a kilogram for bananas when we remember them being more like 49 cents a pound back in Canada (just over $1/kg). There's a touching little notice posted next to the outrageous banana price signs at both of our local supermarkets, explaining how most of the country's banana crop was wiped out from Cyclone Yasi, but we should keep buying what's left and do our part to help Aussie farmers. And of course, these bananas can't compare to the bargain ones shipped across the entire continent of North America while still green, and sprayed with gases to ripen at just the right time on the truck. But still...

So when we found cute little lady finger bananas for sale at a stall at the local Carrara Markets this past weekend for $6 a kilo, we were stoked! They looked a little beat up so we didn't buy very many — even though the lady at the booth assured us we shouldn't worry about the deep black scrapes in the peel, which were "left by the flying foxes" (or bats, to our Canadian readers). But now we're wishing we bought enough to fill a backpack! These lady finger bananas are tasty little things... and the lady at the market was right — the marks were purely surface blemishes. And the other amazing thing about these bananas is that they were grown in Tweed Valley, only 50 km south of where we live. Forget eating apples all winter because it's all we've got while the fields and the trees are buried under the snow. If there was ever a good time and place to try out the 100-Mile Diet, subtropical Queensland would be it! If you're looking for us this weekend, we'll probably be at a farmer's market somewhere. Or maybe imagining up new avocado recipes.

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