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Cherries at a premium this season

Eat | Drink | Explore

Cherry yields in South Australia are down this year, but the good news is that the recent warm weather has helped local fruit ripen in time for Christmas.

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“Consumers can expect to pay slightly more for cherries this year and stallholders with cherries at the farmers’ markets are selling out each week,” says Adelaide Showground Farmer’ Market general manager Elaine Ratcliffe.

The Cherry Growers’ Association of Australia has said this week that cherry farms across the eastern seaboard have been hit hard by the cold and wet growing season.

His comments were echoed by Ratcliffe.

“The cold and wet weather in September and October impacted on the flowering and pollination of cherries across South Australia this year, and crop levels are down as a result,” she said.

“This will lead to a reduction in income for growers in a year that has seen many challenges for local farmers, but the good news is that recent warmer weather has assisted with ripening fruit in time for the busy Christmas season.”

Cherries have a short season of around three months and generally ripen in December, with South Australian fruit now available at the local Farmers’ Markets (see pre-Christmas market opening hours at the bottom of this article).

There are more than 80 varieties of cherries grown in Australia, the most common including Merchant, Bing, Stella, Lapin, Van, Sweetheart, Empress, Simone and Kordia.

cherries

 

According to Adelaide Showground Farmers’ Market stallholder Claude Conterno, from Merry Cherry Farms, cherries are best stored in the fridge in an airtight container to ensure they last longer.

He says size does not affect the fruit’s taste, with smaller cherries just as flavoursome as larger ones.

Below, Farmers’ Market regular Lyndall Vandenberg, of LVFood, shares her recipe for Cherry Chocolate Trifle, describing it as “an utterly rich, deliciously festive dessert made for indulgence”.

Cherry Chocolate Trifle

The elements can be mostly made ahead and kept in the fridge, all ready to assemble at a moment’s notice. Serves 4.

Ingredients

200g dark chocolate (53% cocoa solids) plus extra, grated for topping
200ml thickened cream
250g cherries, pitted
Finely grated rind and juice of ½ orange
2 tlb rum
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
200g chocolate and almond brownies, crumbled (see recipe below)
100g crème fraiche

Method

Combine cherries, orange rind and juice, cinnamon and rum in a bowl, then stir until combined. Set aside.

Stir chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water until melted. Cool briefly. Whisk cream in an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add chocolate in a steady stream, then continue to whisk until combined.

Divide brownies among four 300ml serving glasses. Pour in chocolate, top with cherries and their juices, then crème fraiche and lastly the grated chocolate. Refrigerate for 10 minutes before serving.

Chocolate and almond brownies

Ingredients

3/4 cup caster sugar
2/3 cup cocoa
½ cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
4 eggs, beaten
150g butter, melted
2 tsp vanilla
100g dark chocolate pieces
100g raw almonds, chopped and toasted

Method

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees. In a bowl, stir together the sugar, cocoa, flour and baking powder.

Add the eggs, butter and vanilla and mix well until combined. Mix in the almonds and chocolate pieces. Pour into a lined 22cm square tin and bake for 40-45 minutes.

Allow the brownie block to cool before serving.


 Farmers’ Market opening hours leading up to Christmas

Adelaide Showground Farmers’ Market is open as usual this Sunday, December 18, from 9am-1pm at the Adelaide Showground, Leader Street, Wayville. An extra twilight market will be held on Wednesday, December 21, from 3pm-7pm.

Gawler Farmers’ Market will be open from 8am to noon on Saturday, December 17, and on Saturday, December 24, at Lyndoch Road, Gawler.

Willunga Farmers’ Market will be open on Saturday, December 17, from 8am-12.30pm in Willunga Town Square. It will hold a twilight market on Thursday, December 22, from 5.30pm-8.30pm.

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