These long hot golden days are lulling us into the belief that summer will go on forever – but our produce knows better. Apples and pears are coming into their own – from late February through to July is when they shine – so regardless of the weather it’s time to crunch into the former and sink teeth into the silky creamy smoothness of the latter.

At the farmers’ markets, both the Costanzo and the McMahon stalls are the places to go. The Stanthorpe region is the base for both these family farms, where they grow Pink Ladies and Granny Smiths, Fujis and Royal Galas, Delicious and Jonathons amongst other varieties, as well as pears. At the McMahon’s, their unsprayed organic fruit is picked only when it is ripe, the apples allowed to remain on the trees so their sugars develop fully and the flavour, accordingly, becomes more intense.

Of course, at their peak, the best way to eat them is in their raw state, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be transformed further into delectable desserts. Apples, especially, are conducive to cooking – as Jane Grigson says,  ‘the apple is the most important fruit in our cooking and eating’ – whereas pears, which, according to my partner, are ‘sad apples’, have never enjoyed their popularity. (‘the aloof, aristocratic pear’, describes Waverley Root, ‘harder to grow, fussier about its surroundings…’) Well, I’m not choosing one over the other, opting to make a favourite pie, a Harvest Pie whose buttery caramelly filling of apples and pears is encased in an equally buttery pastry. Again quoting Jane Grigson, ‘for flavour the apple’s best allies are butter and cream’ – and both find their way into this gorgeous Harvest Pie. Recipe on the website!

Both Costanzo and McMahon’s are at New Brighton every Tuesday from 8 – 11am and at Mullumbimby every Friday from 7 – 11am