We are now midway through our 2014 broccoli season. We have harvested just over half of our 500ha of broccoli and are also heading back to the Darling Downs properties to commence the final stages of planting which will see our supply through to the end of the season.
Both our farms and packing shed operations are currently working at peak capacity for the broccoli season. Qualipac Farms General Manager, Brad Qualischefski is currently overseeing harvesting in the Lockyer Valley and has been very pleased with the results.
“The recent cool and mostly dry weather has been favourable for us and has resulted in high quality broccoli and excellent supply.”
This excellent supply has been welcome news to southern states whose own supply has been hit by extremely cold weather. Qualipac has been able to fill the gap down south and help ensure they have fresh broccoli on their shelves.
We encourage you to enjoy some broccoli tonight. It is great quality at the moment and as always, is a great source of vitamins and minerals.
Broccoli and Baby Broccoli
Don’t be afraid to eat the stems of broccoli. They are highly nutritious and full of flavour. Try grating them and adding to Bolognese sauce or using them in a stir fry.
Store onions in a cool, dark and well ventilated area away from direct sunlight and ideally in an onion bag. They should keep for a couple of weeks.
Store unused portions of pumpkins in the fridge and ensure it is well wrapped in cling wrap. Ideally use it within a week. A whole uncut pumpkin will keep for several weeks in a cool dark place.
BASIC STORAGE & HANDLING TIPS FOR DRY BULB ONIONS:
- Always handle onions with care. Do not drop onions as this often causes bruising and internal decay.
- Bagged or boxed onions should be stored at least 30cm away from walls and other pallets to allow proper air movement.
- Store onions in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area.
- Maintain storage temperature of 7 – 13°C.
- Do not wrap onions in plastic or store in plastic bags. A lack of air circulation will reduce shelf life.
- Onions should feel firm and dry, be free of grey or black mould, and should not have any visible sprouting. Some loose skins are normal.
- Do not store onions with potatoes or other produce items that release moisture.
- Keep onions out of direct sunlight and other heat sources.
Broccoli and Baby Broccoli
Don’t overcook your broccoli and ideally steam it for the highest nutritional value
Ensure that your knife is sharp when cutting onions. It will minimise the amount of gas that is released from the onion which causes your eyes to water and sting.
Pumpkin cooks a lot faster than potato so it is ideal for BBQ’s. Thinly slice the pumpkin, drizzle with a little oil and cook for a few minutes either side.
Technology has become a vital part of our business and we rely on it from the very start of the growing process through to the end when we deliver to our customer. We have also refined our irrigation practices so that we are using our water more effectively and we are better able to survive dry periods. From a marketing perspective we are much more customer focused.
Broccoli and Baby Broccoli
Our packing shed is only a short distance from our growing regions. After harvesting it goes straight to our packing shed where it is cooled to remove field heat. It is then packed on ice to ensure freshness and dispatch within 24 hours.
From the field they go straight to the packing shed where they are cured over a 10 day period in a temperature and humidity controlled shed; this ensures the longevity of the onion. They are then size and quality graded, packed and dispatched all within 2 weeks of harvest.
Within 48 hours
Broccoli – 12 weeks
Onions – 24 weeks
Pumpkins – 16 weeks
Baby Broccoli – 12 weeks
“This recipe takes a little effort but is well worth it. The onions are the star here and are best served with a simple barbequed steak and a salad.” Russell Qualischefski – Director
- 4 medium sized onions
- olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 4 long and firm twigs of rosemary
- 8 tbls of cream
- 1/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- 4 slices of prosciutto
Peel the onions (try to keep the root intake to keep the onions together) and boil in a saucepan of water for 15 mins or until slightly tender. Drain and allow them to cool slightly. Once they are cool enough to handle, cut the top 2.5cm from the onion and cut out the insides of the onion, making sure you leave enough of the outside of the onion so that it stands up.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Finely chop the tops and insides of the onion. Remove the bottom leaves from the rosemary and finely chop them. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and add the chopped onion and rosemary. Cook for a few minutes until the onion is soft. Turn the heat off and add the cream and cheese.
Wrap a piece of prosciutto around each onion and secure with the rosemary stems (use a knife to sharpen the tip to make it easier to insert). Place the onions on a baking tray and fill each with the chopped onion mixture. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until tender.
“Broccoli is surprisingly versatile. This recipe is a really tasty and a different way to enjoy your broccoli.” Troy Qualischefski – Director.
- 600g broccoli, cut into florets
- 1/3 cup (55g) whole almonds, lightly toasted
- 3/4 cup (60g) finely grated parmesan
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
- Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon, plus wedges to serve
- 100ml extra virgin olive oil
Cook broccoli in boiling, salted water for 2-3 minutes until just tender, then drain and refresh in cold water. Place the broccoli and almonds in a food processor and process until well combined. Add cheese, garlic, parsley, zest, juice and 100ml oil and season with salt and pepper. Pulse to a coarse pesto.
Serve with pasta or as a accompaniment to fish or chicken.