A Guide to spring produce
learn more about spring produce with Kirby, peninsula hot springs’ market gardener
Firstly, tell us a little bit about your role in growing, maintaining, and harvesting fresh produce inside Peninsula Hot Springs’ terraced food bowl.
My role as a market gardener is quite diverse, changing day by day, and moving with the seasons. A typical day could range from raising seedlings in the nursery, to feeding and preparing soil for planting, to harvesting and washing the fresh produce for our chefs.
I strive to grow an abundance of high-quality, seasonal produce, whilst farming in a way that supports nature and is gentle on the environment. I have a strong belief in creating living soils, and use methods to ensure our produce is grown in a way that is ecological, regenerative and sustainable.
Why should we buy, eat and grow seasonally?
Growing with the seasons ensures produce is eaten when it’s at its freshest, tastiest and most nutritious, as nature intended. By choosing local, seasonal produce, we are not only choosing food that has travelled fewer kilometres or is more nutrient dense but we are also supporting small-scale local growers, which in-turn supports the community and local economy. We also have the benefit of accessing uncommon or heirloom varieties of fruits and vegetables, specifically catered to our local community, that we couldn’t find in a supermarket.
What are some of your favourite spring vegetables?
Spring is my favourite time of year. The air is still cool and nature slowly starts to come alive again with the warming sun. It seems like produce could not get any sweeter or crunchier during this time. A few of my favourites are heirloom carrots, sugar-snap peas, bull’s blood beetroot, and the bitter but delicious radicchio, which is incredible with pasta.
What are some of your favourite spring fruits?
Strawberries are an absolute favourite, and grow really well here on the Mornington Peninsula. As we get closer to Summer, more of the berries and cherries will start to appear… they are absolutely worth the wait.
For those looking to grow fresh produce, what are the best varietals to plant in spring?
As well as being a great time to plant crops like salad greens, herbs, beetroot, radishes and carrots, Spring is a really good time to start growing crops from the nightshade family, like tomatoes, eggplants and chillies, to ensure you have an abundance all the way through Summer. Choose heirloom varieties where you can as these are always the most delicious.