Looking more like Indian snake squashes (or pods from another planet!) than eggplants, these veggies created a stir at the Friday Union Square farmers market.
Eggplants are slow-growing, often taking three months from seed to mature fruit. So, the heyday of the eggplant season tends to be August and early September. I was strolling through the Union Square market on Friday, between cloudbursts, and saw a crowd up ahead around the Norwich Meadows Farm stall. Turns out the shoppers were gawking at green eggplants, from a display that included nine eggplant varieties, only some of them purple. The green eggplants are like the slender, almost black Asian variety, and are spectacular painted with a soy sugar and rice wine vinegar solution (or bottled teriyaki sauce) and either grilled over charcoal or broiled in a very hot oven. That is–if you can stand to turn your oven on. Check out the next page for a picture of all the varieties of eggplant, and info on other markets to find Norwich Meadows Farm.
Norwich Farm offers many eggplant varieties. (click to examine more closely)
Another thing to do with such a profusion of varieties is to buy one of each, cut them roughly up, salt them down and let them sweat for an hour or two to evacuate bitter juices, then squeeze and saute in olive oil with shallots, garlic, or green onions–or all three–until the edges become crisp and brown.
In addition to Union Square on Friday, Saturday, and Monday, Norwich Meadows Farm (of Norwich, New York, just east of the Finger Lakes, and former home of a famous aspirin factory, bought by Procter and Gamble, then shuttered) has stalls at Tompkins Square and Stuyvesant Town on Sunday.