I matched the postcodes of the Townsville region with the vegetables linked to their corresponding price lookup codes and made a soup out of it!
Townsville, North Queensland, is my home town, but these days I live on the other side of the world in Canada – the chilly city of Montréal, to be specific. I miss the warmth of my home town quite a lot, to the point that sometimes I embark on silly but adventurous little projects to help bring Townsville a little closer to me. For example, a few years ago, I rode my bike 200km through Ontario, from Toronto to Brantford and back, just to visit Townsville Court, a small street in a suburban neighbourhood:
More recently, I had an idea to match the postcodes of the Townsville region with the vegetables linked to their corresponding price lookup codes, and make a soup out of it.
What exactly did this entail? Well, firstly, let’s talk of Australian postcodes. All postcodes in the country have 4 digits and generally speaking, each state and territory has a range of 1000 postcodes assigned to its various locations. For example, Western Australia postcodes follow 6xxx format. Queensland postcodes are all 4xxx. When we look specifically at the Townsville region, local postcodes start at 4810 and extend through to 4819:
Here is the full list of Townsville-region postcodes, according to Australia Post:
|4810||BELGIAN GARDENS, CAPE CLEVELAND, CASTLE HILL, NORTH WARD, PALLARENDA, RAILWAY ESTATE, ROWES BAY, SHELLY BEACH, SOUTH TOWNSVILLE, TOWN COMMON, TOWNSVILLE, TOWNSVILLE CITY, TOWNSVILLE DC, TOWNSVILLE MC, WEST END|
|4811||CLUDEN, IDALIA, JAMES COOK UNIVERSITY, MOUNT STUART, OAK VALLEY, OONOONBA, ROSENEATH, STUART, WULGURU,|
|4812||CURRAJONG, GULLIVER, HERMIT PARK, HYDE PARK, MUNDINGBURRA, MYSTERTON, PIMLICO, ROSSLEA,|
|4814||AITKENVALE, ANNANDALE, CRANBROOK, DOUGLAS, GARBUTT, GARBUTT EAST, HEATLEY, MOUNT LOUISA, MURRAY, THURINGOWA DC, VINCENT|
|4815||CONDON, GRANITE VALE, GUMLOW, KELSO, PINNACLES, RASMUSSEN,|
|4816||ALLIGATOR CREEK, BALGAL BEACH, BARRINGHA, BROOKHILL, CALCIUM, CARRUCHAN, CLEMANT, CRYSTAL CREEK, CUNGULLA, ELLERBECK, GREENVALE, HOMESTEAD, JULAGO, KENNEDY, MAJORS CREEK, MALPAS-TRENTON, MINGELA, MOUNT ELLIOT, MUTARNEE, NOME, PALM ISLAND, PALUMA, PENTLAND, RAVENSWOOD, REID RIVER, ROLLINGSTONE, ROSS RIVER, SAVANNAH, SELLHEIM, TOOMULLA, TOONPAN, TORRENS CREEK, WOODSTOCK|
|4817||ALICE RIVER, BOHLE PLAINS, HERVEY RANGE, KIRWAN, RANGEWOOD, THURINGOWA CENTRAL|
|4818||BEACH HOLM, BLACK RIVER, BLUE HILLS, BLUEWATER, BLUEWATER PARK, BOHLE, BURDELL, BUSHLAND BEACH, COSGROVE, DEERAGUN, JENSEN, LYNAM, MOUNT LOW, MOUNT ST JOHN, SAUNDERS BEACH, SHAW, TOOLAKEA, YABULU|
|4819||ARCADIA, FLORENCE BAY, HORSESHOE BAY, MAGNETIC ISLAND, NELLY BAY, PICNIC BAY, WEST POINT|
Now, price lookup codes, or PLU’s. You know when you buy fruit or vegetables from the grocery store and they have that little sticker on them with a 4- or 5-digit number? For example, a banana is usually marked with a 4011 label. That’s a price lookup code. It’s an internationally-administered and recognized numbering system that identify all the different types of fresh produce available at grocery stores worldwide. A PLU is specific to a commodity and can also be specific to its variety, size, and region of production.
And as it happens, the 4011 PLU of a banana corresponds with the postcode of Clayfield, Queensland, a suburb of Brisbane a little north of the city. Once I made the correlation between PLU’s and Australian postcodes, I began wondering to myself: would the postcodes of my home town match up with a fruit or vegetable item?
I researched a little, and indeed they did!
|4810||Bunched or banded turnips|
|4816||Golden sweet potato|
|4817||Sweet potato with red or orangy-red flesh|
|4818||Retailer-assigned sweet potato|
And this, my friends, made up the list of ingredients for Townsville Soup! I set on a mission to find them all. I ignored the retailer-assigned items (these are used for products that don’t have their own standardized PLU’s), but I was able to find most of the others.
You can watch my YouTube video here on the experience, and to see how it turned out:
I call upon Townsville restaurants and food trucks to add this to your menu. I’m sure it’ll sell!
4810 – bunched or banded turnips
4811 – purple-top turnip
4812 – white turnip
4813 – retailer-assigned turnip (ignored for the recipe)
4814 – water chestnuts
4815 – watercress
4816 – golden sweet potato
4817 – sweet potato with red or orangy-red flesh
4818 – retailer-assigned sweet potato (ignored for the recipe)
4819 – cassava
1. Peel, chop and boil / pressure cook the hell out of the cassava first cause it’s toxic if you don’t.
2. Peel & chop the turnips, water chestnuts & sweet potato.
3. Throw it all in a soup pot, cover with water & a bit of salt and boil everything for 45 mins.
4. Whiz it all through a blender once it’s cooled down.
5. Chop the watercress and add it to the soup.
6. Eat your deliciously nostalgic Townsville Soup, preferably while overlooking the city from the Castle Hill lookout.