Broccoli originated in Italy more than 2000 years ago and belongs to the same family as cabbage, kale, cauliflower and bok choy. It is a cool-weather crop at its best during winter.
The most widely grown type of broccoli is the common Calabrese broccoli, with its large flowering head, but sprouting broccoli is also available – it has a larger number of heads and many thin stalks. When selecting broccoli, pick bright green heads with tightly clustered florets.
Broccoli provides an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin K. It also contains moderate amounts of several B vitamins and dietary mineral manganese. Although it is most commonly eaten boiled or steamed or as a stir-fry ingredient, it may be served raw as part of a salad or in place of crackers with dips.
A simple winter dish is to top blanched broccoli with cheese sauce and bake until golden brown. It makes great soup and provides good texture in frittata.
Farmers’ market stallholder The Garden Farmers grow broccoli and other produce grown on their Fleurieu Peninsula farm and sells it at the Adelaide Showground and Willunga Farmers’ Markets. They also sell cold-pressed juices, including a green juice made from broccoli leaves and other green leafy vegetables, at the markets.
You can find broccoli at the Adelaide Showground Farmers’ Market stalls of Alnda Farms, WB Hart Vegetables, Virgara’s Garden, The Garden Farmers, The Food Forest and The Vegie Basket. The Adelaide Showground Farmers’ Market is open on Sundays from 9am to 1pm at the Adelaide Showground, Leader Street, Wayville.
Fleurieu Peninsula farm Starlight Springs grows an heirloom variety of broccoli using organic practices to sell at Willunga Farmers’ Market. They raise their broccoli plants from seed, fertilising the soil with their own liquid manure, compost, and chicken and cow manure to ensure strong, healthy plants. WB Hart’s Vegetables and Virgara’s Garden also attend Willunga Farmers’ Market on Saturdays from 8am to 12.30pm.
Alnda Farms and The Vegie Basket are also at Gawler Farmers’ Market each week, while The Food Forest attend fortnightly. This market is open on Saturdays from 8am to noon at the Gawler Visitor Information Centre car park, 2 Lyndoch Road, Gawler.
Lyndall Vandenberg, marketing and communications coordinator for the Willunga Farmers’ Market, has shared her recipe for a favourite simple pasta dish made with broccoli, lemon and tuna.
“Here is a simple recipe that I come back to again and again, because it is utterly delicious and takes no time to put together,” she says.
Orecchiette with Lemon, Tuna and Broccoli
2 red onions, peeled and diced
6 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
juice and zest of 1 lemon
600g broccoli – use stalks and heads, cut into small florets
2 x 185g cans Italian-style tuna in oil
½ bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 cups passata
500g orecchiette, cooked as per manufacturer’s instructions
Parmesan cheese to serve
In a wide, shallow pan fry onion in a generous amount of olive oil until softened. Next, add the garlic, chilli, lemon zest and parsley, then fry for a minute or two until fragrant.
Add broccoli and cook for a few minutes. Next add the tuna and combine.
Pour in passata, bring to the boil, then lower heat and cook for about 15 minutes. Add cooked orecchiette, lemon juice and parmesan. Stir to combine. Serve immediately.
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