I love the convenience and self satisfaction of popping out to my backyard and picking some fresh basil, thyme or mint. But to my great frustration, and one shared amongst many home herb growers, is that I can't grow my most used herb; coriander.
The reasons are numerous, but basically coriander is a 'bolter' meaning that it's eager to flower and set seed so before you know it, your young coriander plant has prematurely reached old age.
I'm continually on the hunt for coriander that's fresh, leafy and not terrifyingly expensive.
So where is the best place to buy coriander?
The giant duopoly of Colesworths is probably the most expensive place to buy coriander. At $2.95 a bunch, it had unnecessary packaging, a lot of stalk and only a little leaf. It wasn't even displayed correctly. How much profit is Colesworths making?
Overpriced, underwhelming and mislabelled coriander at Woolworths
I popped in to Thomas Dux at Surry Hills and was surprised to see coriander for sale for only $2.48. It looked reasonable quality and not bad for a premium grocer store, but far from being the cheapest.
Your local farmers market?
I strolled through my local farmers market at Warwick Farm with the assumption that there would be some lovely looking premium organic coriander at some ridiculously preposterous price. I was disappointed that there was nothing advertised as 'organic', just your run of the mill looking coriander direct from the farmers fields in greater western Sydney. One stall sold small loose bunches for $1.70 while another has them for sale for $1.50. I think the farmers are doing well selling at this price, bless their coriander picking hearts, but is it any fresher, tastier and healthier than cheaper coriander?
My reliable Vietnamese grocer in Moore Street Liverpool sells leafy bunches of coriander for 50 to 60 cents. Why would I go anywhere else? When I tell the owner that they have the cheapest coriander in town, she smiles and has a little chuckle, but the price remains the same.
So there you have it coriander connoisseurs, don't get lazy, get even. The big supermarkets are relying on your laziness so they can rip you off on what they like you to think is a luxury herb. Give them the flick and support your local small store or at the very least local farmers.
If you have a favourite 'cheapie' coriander outlet or the best place to buy organic coriander, share it with your Weekendnotes pals.
Likewise Asian grocers in Chatswood sell herbs for usually well under $1/bunch, and their bunches are much bigger than those in supermarkets. (Same goes for other foodstuffs that particular communities use in bulk - soy sauce, Chinese tea, Asian greens).