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Paradise Fresh Blog

Paradise Fresh Blog

Asparagus - The fresh spring vegetable

Info Paradise - Thursday, October 10, 2013

Ahhh Asparagus.  What a wonderful spring time vegetable.  It is a very versatile vegetable as it can be used in a variety of dishes such as with breakfast, as a starter, in snacks and lights meals, in salads, soups and with a main meal.  It is viewed as a high end vegetable most probably due to its limited seasonality and tenderness.

Asparagus is a perennial plant, growing from 100 to 150cm tall. The leaves are actually very small attached to the stems which appear as the majority of the top growth of the plant. It is usually dioecious, with male and female flowers on separate plants, but sometimes hermaphrodite flowers are found. The flowers mature to form a small red berry 6-10mm in size which is actually poisonous to humans.  

Asparagus crowns (a root mass) are planted in May 25-30cm apart.  I spring the crown sends up shoots (spears), which are the edible portion of the plant. Spears continually emerge from the soil and can reach their marketable length 0f 25cm in just 24 hours when humid conditions prevail.  In the first season following transplanting of the “crowns”, spears are only harvested for three to four weeks, with the main objective being to strengthen the plant through maximum fern development and maximum crown growth. `

The fern stage is very important to the plant as the “leaves” photosynthesise and produce energy, which is then transported back to the crown where it is stored for the following season’s growth. Prolonged harvesting or stress can impact on the following year’s yield potential if the plant is not allowed to progress to the fern stage.

The asparagus fern dies down between April and May as the plant undergoes a natural dormancy period over winter. You then slash or remove the dead top growth taking care not to damage the crown. 

When harvesting cut the spear at or below the surface.  It should then be placed in the fridge as soon as possible to remove heat and prolong storage life. 

Asparagus come in green, white and purple varieties, although the later 2 colour varieties are limited and command premium prices.

Asparagus is low in calories and is very low in sodium. It is a good source of vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium and zinc, and a very good source of dietary fiber, protein, beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, iron, phosphorus, potassium, copper, manganese and selenium. The amino acid asparagine gets its name from asparagus, as the asparagus plant is relatively rich in this compound.

Storing Asparagus
Freshly harvested asparagus is very similar to cut flowers - it needs to be kept in cool, humid conditions. Below are two tried and true methods of storing fresh asparagus. Choose the method that suits you.

  1. To keep asparagus fresher for longer, wrap it in a damp tea towel, pop in a plastic bag and store in the crisper compartment of your fridge.
  2. Stand the fresh spears upright in a container with 1cm cold water, cover and store it in the refrigerator.

Freezing Asparagus

  1. Wash the asparagus thoroughly and remove the woody ends.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to the boil.
  3. Carefully add the asparagus. If you are blanching a large amount of asparagus, blanch in batches of 2 bunches to maintain the temperature of the water.
  4. Stand the asparagus in the boiling water for 1-2 minutes then remove immediately.
  5. Transfer the asparagus to a large bowl of cold water with ice cubes to reduce the temperature quickly and prevent further cooking.
  6. Drain the asparagus well on clean tea towels or paper towel.
  7. Transfer to freezer bags, secure and label with date.
  8. Store in the freezer until required for up to 8 months.

A few ideas for using Asparagus

 Chicken and Asparagus Stir-fry

600 g chicken breast fillets, cut into strips

500g fresh hokkien noodles 

2 tbsp oil (see Tip) 

1 carrot, cut into sticks

1 red capsicum, cut into sticks

2 bunches asparagus, woody ends removed, sliced into 3

1-2 small fresh red chillies, sliced finely

2-3 garlic cloves, chopped

2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

2 tbsp oyster sauce

1/2 cup roasted cashews

1 tsp toasted sesame oil (optional)

  • Place the noodles in a heatproof bowl, cover with boiling water and stand for 1 minute. Drain and separate the noodles. Set aside.
  • Heat a wok over a medium-high heat, add 3 teaspoons of the oil and stir-fry half the chicken until cooked through. Remove from wok and set aside. Repeat using another 3 teaspoons of the oil and remaining chicken. Set chicken aside.
  • Add the remaining oil to the wok and add the carrot and stir-for fry for 1-2 minutes. Add the capsicum, asparagus, chillies and garlic and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the reserved chicken, sweet chilli sauce, oyster sauce and noodles and stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes or until heated through. 
  • Sprinkle with sesame oil (if using), scatter with roasted cashews and serve at once.

Tips:

  • You can also use chicken stir-fry strips.

(Source: Australian Asparagus Growers)  

Garlic asparagus and bacon wraps

1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
500g fresh asparagus (about 2 1/2 bunches), woody ends removed
400g bacon strips
Toothpicks
Salt & pepper to taste

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat and cook the garlic and parsley for 3 minutes, then remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. Arrange 4-5 spears of asparagus in the centre of each strip of bacon. Drizzle the garlic and parsley oil over each bundle of asparagus. Wrap the bacon around the asparagus spears and secure each Asparagus Wrap with a toothpick.
  4. Arrange the Asparagus Wraps on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper, then sprinkle them with salt and pepper.
  5. Bake the Asparagus Wraps in the preheated oven until the bacon is cooked, 20-25 minutes. Alternatively, grill the Asparagus Wraps on the top rack of a preheated grill until the bacon is cooked.

 (Source: Australian Asparagus Growers)

Farmer Brendon

Paradise Fresh

 

Paradise Fresh Armidale delivers quality fruit and vegetables to the customers door.  We service Armidale and Uralla 5 days a week.  We also service cafes restaurants, pubs clubs and schools with wholesale fruit and vegetables

Paradise Fresh are a premium quality home delivered fruit and vegetable franchise business with all orders placed through their website www.paradisefresh.com.au  Paradise Fresh have plenty of business opportunities throughout eastern Australia both in the capital cities and regional areas such as Toowoomba, Canberra, Woolongong, Wagga Wagga, Griffith, Bathurst, Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and many other areas.

A Fresh new Season of Fruit and Vegetables

Info Paradise - Sunday, October 06, 2013

What a great time of year to eat Fresh.

Spring signals a change in Australian fresh produce availabilities.  A good variety of stone fruit are starting with peaches and nectarines available already, plums, apricots and cherries about to start shortly. Mangoes have just started with a light Northern Territory crop. A dry but warm winter has reduced fruit set so a small crop is the result.  The Queensland crop will be marginally better however it will still be smaller than usual.

 

Australian grapes have started from North Queensland but are not very sweet and are expensive. Most of the grapes you see on shelves at the moment are imported from the USA. 

The citrus crops change in mid spring.  Mandarins are just finishing up in the next month along with navel oranges. The valencia orange season is just starting – they are not as sweet as the Navel oranges but peel much easier and are great for the kids lunch boxes.

The Australian asparagus crop is in full swing and will be plentiful until the end of November.  During December through to mid-August you need to be aware that the asparagus is all imported, usually from Peru, Mexico or Thailand.

All the melon crops are in good supply over the warmer months – watermelon, rock melon and honeydew melons will soon all be plentiful. Just like zucchini, tomatoes and capsicums they are frost tender so growing is limited to those areas without frosts in the winter months.

There is always a good supply of fresh herbs for spring and early summer. They love the warmer conditions to grow in, especially basil which we have found to excel on the Paradise Fresh farm no matter how much heat we cop as long as it has good water availability.  Our hydroponic system is just ideal for growing basil in the summer months, providing plenty of water and perfect nutrition for it.

Most of the salad items such as lettuce, tomatoes and cucumber will be plentiful for the next few months with dry weather conditions predicted - just ideal for the salad weather coming on.

Farmer Brendon

Paradise Fresh

Paradise Fresh Armidale delivers quality fruit and vegetables to the customers door.  We service Armidale and Uralla 5 days a week.  We also service cafes restaurants, pubs clubs and schools with wholesale fruit and vegetables

Paradise Fresh are a premium quality home delivered fruit and vegetable franchise business with all orders placed through their website www.paradisefresh.com.au  Paradise Fresh have plenty of business opportunities throughout eastern Australia both in the capital cities and regional areas such as Toowoomba, Canberra, Woolongong, Wagga Wagga, Griffith, Bathurst, Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and many other areas.

A Fresh New Business Opportunity

Info Paradise - Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A fresh business.  A Paradise Fresh business.  That would be a fresh new start.

Paradise Fresh takes advantage of the new retail shopping model – shopping online, to sell a comprehensive range of premium quality fresh fruit and vegetables all delivered to the customers door.  Gone are the days of a high traffic/high rent (high risk) business model.   A Paradise Fresh business operates from your home or from a small storage unit helping minimise overheads whilst selling everyday consumable items at the full retail margin. Paradise Fresh is easily able to compete with the big supermarkets due to our minimal overheads.

Paradise Fresh delivers to their customers 5 days a week – this means you will be running a retail business trading Monday to Friday with the weekends off while your online store is taking orders 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  A great business opportunity for someone who wants to build a great business for themselves, this is a classic business where you only get out what you put in.

A healthy business to be involved in, Paradise Fresh delivers everyday staple items to families.  Our average order value is high due to our main customer base being young healthy families.  The growing healthy trend is to get back to feeding your family the basics – fresh produce as a mixture of fruit and vegetables. 

People are time poor nowadays and utilise everything possible to maximise the quality time they spend with their families.  Shopping for their groceries is a chore with which they now try to minimise the time they spend at it. Grocery shopping online is now one of the fastest growing areas of online shopping – it has been one of the last areas of online shopping to take off.

Marketing is much easier with an online business.  There are so many options these days and the Paradise Fresh franchise takes care of it.  We support you every step of the way, from organising all the equipment you need to operate including a refrigerated van through to the online tools required and the complete supply chain.  You just need to drive to succeed in building something for your future.

Entry costs to open a Paradise Fresh franchise business are relatively low.  All you need is $20,000 to start the business. We supply the vehicle and the equipment for you  to start easily in your own business. Its a great opportunity.

For a fresh new start in life give Farmer Brendon a call on 0429 655650 so he can run you through what a Paradise Fresh business involves and the opportunities we have on offer.  We may have a business for sale close to you.

 

Paradise Fresh have business opportunities throughout Sydney -  Northern Beaches, Sydney North Shore, Sydney Hills District,  Penrith and the Blue Mountains, Parramatta,  Liverpool,  South West Sydney, Sydney Inner West, Sydney CBD,  Sydney Eastern suburbs, Sutherland Shire, St George, Wollongong,  NSW Central coast North and South.

We have a variety of regional business territories for sale such as Armidale, Bathurst, Wagga Wagga, Young, Griffith, Albury, Toowoomba, Dubbo (already trading)  and a variety of territories in Canberra.

The Paradise Fresh Story

Info Paradise - Sunday, September 01, 2013

When Paradise Fresh began in 1998 it wasn’t as a home delivered fruit and vegetable business.  We have come a long way since our humble beginnings as a small farm producing a wide variety of lettuce types.  We added herb lines and some Asian veggies to make it a profitable small farm.  We grew the business by looking further afield to supply fruit and vegetable shops throughout the Central West, Northwest and New England Tableland areas of NSW – 45 shops in all within 12 months of first starting.  We started with a group exporting fancy lettuce into a variety of Asian countries which was short lived when the group fell apart.  OK then.  I guess we will just have to start supplying one of the supermarket chains to build sales.  Most people thought we were mad for even trying.  After quite a few attempts and the help of some of the local supermarket staff we managed to get into supplying 5 shops of one of the big chains direct into store.  The staff in these stores thought it was great – they could order what they needed 6am in the morning and have it in store by 7am, products were fresher and sales increased, they had no stock losses due to the freshness and we could land it into the stores cheaper than they could get it from there distribution centre.  We were also managing to supply other local grower’s products into the supermarket as well. 

At that time there were 18 other growers of fresh produce within 100km of us most of which we liaised and networked with.  In 2007 the supermarket phoned to say we would be finishing with them in 2 weeks – we had 13 weeks supply in the pipeline most or which we threw out.  By that time only 8 of the 45 fruit and vegetable stores were left operating – they had been out marketed and people had flowed to the supermarkets for sheer convenience.  Even worse only 3 of the 18 growers were left.  They had few opportunities to sell their produce and could not get it into the city produce markets as they were generally already oversupplied.  It was just easier to turn there hand to other things.

Thankfully, in 2001 we had begun selling a variety of local produce into local cafes and restaurants and built a wholesale business up as well. 

In a bid to get back to some of the retail customers we once had supplied through the supermarket chain we developed an online home delivered fruit and vegetable business – it was extremely popular and so in 2010 we franchised the concept and quickly sold other  franchises into Narrabri and Dubbo.  In 2012 a further franchise was opened in the Northern Beaches of Sydney.  A further 11 franchise territories will be opened in the next 2 years throughout Sydney as well as others throughout NSW and Queensland.

We have survived but many others have not. Unfortunately these problems are consistent with what is happening across Australia.

Where have the family farms gone?

 

Mr Paradise

 

Paradise Fresh deliver fresh fruit and veggies to Armidale and Uralla 5 days a week. We are passionate about supporting other locally grown farm produce.  We also supply wholesale fruit and vegetables to cafes, restaurants, pubs and clubs.  We have many business opportunities across eastern Australia including throughout Sydney -  Northern Beaches, Sydney North Shore, Sydney Hills District,  Penrith and the Blue Mountains, Parramatta,  Liverpool,  South West Sydney, Sydney Inner West, Sydney CBD,  Sydney Eastern suburbs, Sutherland Shire, St George, Wollongong,  NSW Central coast North and South.

We have a variety of regional business territories for sale such as Armidale, Bathurst, Wagga Wagga, Young, Griffith, Albury, Toowoomba, Dubbo (already trading)  and a variety of territories in Canberra.


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