Late December isn’t the time I’d normally expect to be doing a post about eggplant. But as we’re preparing our 2015 seed orders and garden planning I realized that eggplant is another one of those vegetables that were not part of the food culture here when I was growing up, but has now become an important part of our farm.
I don’t recall ever eating eggplant until I was an adult. I was probably married before I ever had any.
It was one of the veggies that I added to the summer gardens as an experiment one year. I remember thinking the experiment was a failure, as flea beetles skeletonized the leaves. But I learned that summer how tough the plants are, as they eventually outgrew the flea beetle damage and produced fruit right up to the first frost.
We grow a lot of eggplant now. During the summer we eat a lot of it, put up a lot of it and sell a lot of it. Last year’s crop was our best ever.
It’s tempting to add some new varieties this year. Baker Creek offers lots of interesting heirlooms from around the world. But I think for now we’re just going to stick with standard Italian and Asian varieties. I don’t think Danville is ready for white or green eggplant.
As with everything we’re ordering we have to keep in mind that there is a limit on how much we can grow. Our focus has to be on the tried-and-true varieties that we know we’re going to like.
Whether we add some unusual new variety or not, we expect to have plenty of delicious eggplant next year. It’s one of the best things about summer here now. What was once only an experiment is now a staple of our summer gardens.