Eggplant is a classic summer crop—heat-loving, perfect for grilling, and very versatile in cuisines of all types. Growing them is pretty satisfying too. The large plants grow broad, overlapping leaves in a canopy to shield the fruit from the scalding sun, but that also makes the Eggplants tricky for harvesters to see.
So at harvest we move down the rows methodically, peeking into the canopy of each plant to see if any of the developing fruits are ready to pick. When we find one that’s full & heavy, we clip it off the plant, carefully avoiding the tiny thorns the plants sometimes produce on the calyx (the little green cap that Eggplants wear), and maybe admiring the smooth, glossy sheen out in the sunlight.
Though they look tough, Eggplants can bruise just like anybody else, so we treat them delicately as we pack them into the harvest crates and bring them in from the field. Just like all fresh-picked, perfectly ripe produce, Eggplant has great flavor and a tenderness we miss in off-season grocery store produce, so we savor it every year, knowing it’ll be many months before the season comes back around again.