Warm weather ripens the Dennis' broccoli, cauliflower, too quickly

RIPE AND READY: Two-year-old Albert Affleck with some of the produce that has ripened quickly in the winter sunshine. Picture: Marina Neil
RIPE AND READY: Two-year-old Albert Affleck with some of the produce that has ripened quickly in the winter sunshine. Picture: Marina Neil

Bring out your favourite broccoli and cauliflower recipes Maitland.

It’s time to make your plates green and white to help a farmer in need. 

Mother nature has brought too much sunshine too quickly for this time of year, and while we have been enjoying the sunbeams, the two crops at Matthew and Liam Dennis’ farm have been growing much quicker than usual. 

Now they have 200 heads of broccoli and 200 cauliflowers that are ready to be picked and there’s nobody to eat them.

The next Slow Food Earth Market in The Levee is scheduled for September 7 and the food won’t last until then so chef and Slow Food Hunter Valley leader Amorelle Dempster will use her cafe alongside East Maitland library as the mustering point to buy the food. 

VEGGIE TIME: Siblings Lydia Affleck, 8, and Albert Affleck, 2, with some of the cauliflowers and broccoli. Picture: Marina Neil

VEGGIE TIME: Siblings Lydia Affleck, 8, and Albert Affleck, 2, with some of the cauliflowers and broccoli. Picture: Marina Neil

The Dennis’ are selling a box of broccoli for $20 and a box of cauliflower for $30. If a box is too much, buy a single broccoli for $2 and a single cauliflower for $3. 

READY TO BUY: Some of the broccoli crop that ripened too early.

READY TO BUY: Some of the broccoli crop that ripened too early.

“The broccoli will keep for about five days after it is picked … the cauliflower will keep a lot longer in the fridge,” Ms Dempster said.

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“If the chefs around town all bought a box, we’d only need 20 of them.

“We will get it into their kitchens, we just need them to make a commitment to buy it.”

Telarah Public School has already said it will take a box. 

Mr Dennis has added extra broccoli and cauliflower to his weekly vegetable box to try to bring down the numbers.

READY TO BUY: Some of the cauliflower crop that ripened too early.

READY TO BUY: Some of the cauliflower crop that ripened too early.

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“They have come in a little bit quicker because of the dry weather and the warm days, even though the nights have been cold,” he said. 

“It usually isn’t this hot at this time of the year.” 

Ms Dempster said people could make cauliflower and blue cheese soup, roast cauliflower, make frittatas, stir fry broccoli with chili, ginger and prawns,  or even crumb the cauliflower and make a schnitzel out of it. 

She said the vegetables could be blanched and frozen to enjoy another time, or it could be an excuse for a street party. 

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“Why not share it with your neighbours, have a little street party and offer a broccoli or cauliflower to everybody – it’s not a lot of money to spend,” Ms Dempster said. 

“For $20 you can buy a gift for the street and go and give everyone a broccoli.”

Where to buy:

Readers Cafe and Larder alongside East Maitland Library 

Maitland Mercury 

This story Go green and white for a farmer first appeared on Good Fruit & Vegetables.