|Red Dragonfruit and Custard Apples in the background|
There is no shortage of signage at Rusty's market.
Whenever we are visiting the Far North Queensland city of Cairns, a visit to the Rusty's market is a must for me. This market is in the Cairns city heart, and very easily accessible from Sheridan Street, one of the main thoroughfares in Cairns. The market runs from Friday to Sunday every week and offers a wonderful venue for local producers from Innisfail, south of Cairns, right up to Mareeba on the Atherton Tablelands to sell their local produce, handicrafts, breads and much more each week. What I love about Rusty's is that whilst it starts early each morning, it also finishes later in the afternoon, which means unlike a lot of smaller regional centre markets, it's not essential to do your market shopping early in the morning if not convenient. It is also within walking distance of most of the inner-city accommodation for the tourist.
I found that there are bargains to be had on Sunday. By then, the stall holders are over it, particularly after a busy Easter when the weather is still very warm. They just want to sell everything off and pack up and go home. Three Shepard avocadoes for $1.00 a bag, amazing. There's no air-conditioning in these markets which is quite normal, and it's still unseasonably warm at this time of year, so even though the early bird probably does catch the worm, it's also much cooler if you do get there early. Whilst I'm not a local to Cairns, I always try to find the local farmer's stalls, which isn't difficult. There are also stallholders who buy produce up from around Bundaberg and Brisbane, but I think buying their produce defeats the purpose of shopping at a local Farmer's Market. This is without a doubt, the most economical way to shop for fresh produce in Cairns, and also has the best variety available.
|Oops, should be spelled Longans, who cares, it's the fruit that counts.|
I bought a bag of these small eggplant, cheap as chips as well. I think they are a variety of Italian eggplant, please let me know if you know exactly what they are. I never see them for sale in any of the normal outlets. However, they are delicious when steamed slightly and then baked. Last night I baked them with a dusting of Cajun seasoning. We ate a few of them and I'll add the rest to a curry. I also baked some Okra, with a sprinkle of Cajun seasoning in the same baking tin.
There was plenty of fresh Okra for sale.
I was inspired when I read Chef Mimi's post
recently where she baked some Okra and said they were quite addictive. She used frozen Okra which were then thawed and allowed to drain to remove as much moisture as possible. She dusted hers with a North African spice, I just used a Cajun seasoning, and I really enjoyed them. Add a little extra coarse salt if you like. However, some people find them texturally challenging. Mr. HRK isn't a huge fan of Eggplant or Okra, I really enjoy both of them. They have an unfortunate reputation for being "slimy" when cooked in a stew. I think that baking is the preferred method for cooking them, ensuring that all of the moisture is removed during the process. I just dried the okra that I bought fresh from the market, dribbled a little olive oil over them, dusted them with Cajun seasoning, and baked them at 200 deg. C for 30 minutes, or until they are well cooked. They are delicious as a finger food with a yoghurt dressing, which I flavoured with lemon juice and more Cajun seasoning until it tasted just right or use a Sriracha dressing. Do you have a preferred method of cooking Okra or do you find them challenging to eat?
|Baked Okra and Eggplant. Yum.|
There are tropical Flower stalls, including Heliconias and Strelitzias and some ornamentals for sale.
Fancy a tropical hat?
At a tropical market, particularly at this time of year in Autumn, there are going to be stalls of fresh ginger, galangal, and turmeric as it is nearly ready to harvest during the cooler weather.
The Ginger and turmeric growing in our garden at home will be ready to harvest in a couple of months. The leaves were beginning to brown off a week ago.
Locally grown Roma tomatoes on the Atherton Tablelands are always good quality. I shop around for the best price I can find, but the prices are fairly consistent. I'm still hoping the prices will go lower though.
All fresh herbs and leafy greens, mostly Asian vegetables, very reasonable at $3.00 a bunch.
Sweet and juicy local pineapples.
Lots of lovely passionfruit, just perfect for the topping on a Pavlova or homemade Passionfruit Curd
|Homemade Passionfruit curd|
Longans are a delicious tropical fruit similar to Lychees. The skin is peeled, and the seed removed. I still prefer lychees, but longans are the next best thing.
Multicultural Food Kiosks abound at the markets. I don't have photographs of all of them, but Rusty's is also a great place to meet up with friends and enjoy a good coffee and breakfast. I've seen some folk wandering around sampling the fruit, it's important to try before you buy isn't it? The Hari Krishna stalls serving vegetarian samosas etc are a real crowd favourite.
An interesting variety of locally grown Organic Gourmet mushrooms.
Who needs to travel to France for delicious pastries and Gallett? Oh well, I'm going anyway.
I bought some Local Mareeba new season mandarins and oranges which were delicious and sweet, but I don't have a photo of those. We've eaten them all.
I wrote a December post about Rusty's way back in 2017, where the selection of fruits available was quite different leading up to Christmas. Here's the link
if you would like to take a quick peak at that one.
I would love to visit that market! I too just had some okra :-))ReplyDelete
Angie I know you would love strolling through Rusty's. Thanks for your thoughts.Delete
I would love to stroll though Rusty's.ReplyDelete
Okra is eaten here regularly. We grow it in the backyard and it can be prolific if the weather is right!
Anne I wish I could grow Okra well. I've had moderate success with it. I'll have to check your blog to see if there are any Okras recipes. Thanks for your comment.Delete
French pastries are in a league of their own. You will love the markets in France and prices are good. I agree a lot of fresh fruit from the Atherton Tablelands when I was in Cairns and the surrounding area so thanks for the trip down memory lane.ReplyDelete
from Tandy I Lavender and Lime https://tandysinclair.com
Thanks Tandy, yes I'm looking forward to those French pastries. Lovely that you have visited Cairns before.Delete
We’ve been to cairns before, but only to the zoo! I wish I’d known about this market. So exciting to know that fresh okra work well in the oven! I’m glad you tried it. And it looks like you enjoyed them!!!ReplyDelete
Mimi I really enjoyed them, and as you said they are quite addictive. A future project for me is to try and grow them. Thanks for the inspiration.Delete
So much goodness and so reasonably priced too! I love eggplant and okra (and your method of baking) but my husband isn't a fan because he too thinks it's slimy and hates the texture - but he loves Baba Ganoush! Go figure :)ReplyDelete
Yes I find I have to be quite clever with how I serve eggplant to my hubby. I added a lot of those little eggplants from the market to a Green Chicken Curry during the week and he loved it. Hope all going well in the UK for you.Delete
Persimons? Tee hee. I think we went to this market years ago - in winter when it was still 26C! I really couldn't live there. It looks like terrific produce tho.ReplyDelete
Here we are in Autumn at 34 deg. C. Thaks goodness for air-conditioning. Thanks for dropping in Sherry.Delete
Love eggplant but loathe okra!ReplyDelete
Yep I'm hearing you Sherry. You're not alone there.ReplyDelete
I love markets like this. When I lived near Philadelphia, markets like this were everywhere - at the heart of almost every town and city. I live in Chicago now, and although we do have farmers markets here, they're nothing at all like the ones I fell in love with.ReplyDelete
It's interesting how some towns and cities just do markets so well. it can be sesonal though.Delete
I love this tour of your market, Pauline - everything is so beautiful! I have never had a dragonfruit - I must try them! The okra and eggplants are so beautiful. As soon as okra appear here in the market, I will be baking some à la you and Mimi. I usually use it in gumbo. The mushrooms are beautiful, too. And thank you for the link to your passionfruit curd - can't wait to make that but you will see I had a question for you!ReplyDelete
Thanks David, question answered on the passionfruit curd post,and I've never made gumbo. Sound interesting.Delete