“With the varying climates between Far North Queensland and Victoria, we benefit from having a large selection of produce available all year round.” Daniel Flamminio from Sydney Direct Fresh tells us. Regardless, seasons are still a thing and there are specific fruit & vegetables that are higher quality and more cost effective during the autumn and winter months. For example, “whilst Mangoes and Watermelons can be found 12 months of the year, you will find prices increase by an average of 15% when it’s out of season.” So it definitely pays to ensure your menu is using seasonal fruit & veg, to save on your food costs.
Coming into the cooler months of the year, we’re starting the see a change in availability, quality and prices for the following:
Funnily enough the best time of year for seafood is through the winter months, Jason Collins-Smith from Melbourne-based wholesale seafood supplier - Ocean Made Seafood, tells me. “Colder waters tend to yield a better quality fish..” so whilst it may not be particularly ‘on-trend’ to have a larger number of seafood items on your menu during winter, you really shouldn’t turn your back on seafood during the colder months!
Obviously it very much depends on your venue but there are some solid seafood dishes that are lovely, warming meals - from a seafood bisque to a fish pie or curry. Here are some things to keep in mind when planning your seafood dishes:
Australia is facing the lowest cattle numbers since the early 70s, due to historic drought periods and more recently extreme flooding. This has left farmers trying to protect their livelihoods by holding onto stock for breeding purposes. “All of these factors are pushing red meat prices to an all-time high”, Melody Price-Dawson from Mastercut Meats tells us. Plus contrary to popular opinion - “Australia is still exporting large quantities of meat to an international market that is willing to pay more and upfront.”
Supply is limited at the moment and cuts of meat that have previously been deemed ‘secondary’ or ‘cheaper’ aren’t actually as cheap as we may remember.” Your standard winter cuts are still popular, with venues opting to order beef cheeks, lamb shanks, veal shanks, pork belly, oxtail and osso bucco during the colder months. However keep in mind that with popularity comes issues with supply and demand, so “expect to pay up to $2 more per kilo for lamb shanks during the winter months” Melody advises.
When it comes to planning your menu Melody has a couple of tips to offer:
To keep your finger on the pulse open or log in to your Foodbomb account to keep an eye on pricing changes over the next couple of months.