In many parts of the world, winter’s a lean time for fruit and veg. It’s too cold to grow all but a few hardy crops and the pickings are pretty slim.

It’s a completely different reality on the Northern Rivers, however, where the subtropical climate allows farmers to grow most crops all year round. Many local farmers actually favour winter for growing, and if you take a walk throughout he farmers markets, you’ll discover a bounty of fresh produce.

Here’s a sample of what’s in season locally in winter:

AVOCADOS: April to October is avocado time. You’ll find Fuerte, Sharwil, Hass and Lamb Hass varieties.

PEAS: Shelling peas, snowpeas and sugar snaps are all available in winter. Super sweet and crisp when they are freshly picked, they are perfect for snacking or kids lunchboxes. Available from EverestFarm.

BRASSICAS AND LEAFY GREENS: Highly nutritious broccoli, kale, cabbage, cauliflower, kohlrabi are all in season in the cooler months, as is spinach, silverbeet and Asian greens. Try Everest Farm, Kennedy Lane Farm, The Salald Hut and Summit Organics for your greens.

MEDITERRANEAN VEGETABLES: Only grown in summer in someparts of the country, but available all year round here are vegies including zucchini, tomatoes, eggplant, green beans and capsicum.

NUTS: Macadamias and pecans are both harvested in locally in autumn and winter and are available in shells or pre-cracked at the markets. Try Rainforest Foods at New Brighton for Macas and The Spice Palace and Glenyce Creighton organics for pecans.

ROOT VEGETABLES: Potatoes, carrots, beetroot and sweet potato are all in season now and widely available.

FRUIT:  Winter is all about the citrus – oranges, lemons, limes, mandarins pomelos and tangelos are all picked during winter. You’ll also find plenty of apples, bananas, custard apples, and in coming weeks, blueberries and strawberries.