Our Eggplant Year

One of the very best things about this lifestyle is that we are able to grow and raise most of the food we eat. Yesterday, for example, everything I ate came from this farm and much of it was freshly picked.

Last night for supper we had a delicious eggplant casserole, made from eggplant I picked a couple of hours early. That’s right, fresh eggplant in November. In fact, it’s been so warm here this fall that the eggplant is still blooming.

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Of course some of you will know this tasty vegetable as aubergine. But in the English-speaking world beyond the U.K., the misnomer “eggplant” (acquired because the most popular version originally was white and resembled a goose egg) has stuck.

We had an excellent crop of eggplant this year. We grew the popular Black Beauty variety, but we also grew two Asian varieties (“Millionaire” and Ping Tung) as well as a dark purple variety called “Nadia.”

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Millionaire

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Black Beauty

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Nadia.

(Ping Tung is light purple, the prettiest variety we grow. But alas it’s gone now and it seems I didn’t take any pictures of it.)

Truth be told, we probably grew more than we should’ve. We eat and sell a lot of eggplant, but not as much as we grow.

There was an interesting development late in the season, however. Earlier this year we were donating our unsold eggplant to our local food bank. The director eventually nicely asked us not to donate it any more, because the patrons didn’t want it. That was understandable. I never ate it when I  was growing up here. Eggplant just isn’t part of our traditional food culture.

But by later in the year the food bank was not only accepting eggplant donations, it was even often buying eggplant from us. At our farmers market there is a “donation station,” where visitors can donate some of the food they’ve bought, or make cash donations (which are used by food bank staff to buy fresh produce from the vendors). As it turned out, they had begun to give recipes along with the eggplant and soon afterwards food bank patrons began to request it. So we were able to donate it again, and on some weekends some of the farmers market donations were used to buy some of it as well. A very pleasing development.

So it’s been a good eggplant year. The harvest is going to be over very soon though. The last two nights we’ve had our first frosts of the year. But luckily for us, there’s plenty in the freezer.

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