This Week’s Harvest:
- ‘Multipik’ Squash
- ‘Crookneck’ Squash
- ‘Sebring’ Squash
- ’8 ball’ Zucchini or ‘Tuscany’ Zucchini
- ‘Ichiban’ Eggplant
- ‘Yellow Rocdor’ Beans
- ‘Red Russian’ Kale
- ‘Napoletano’ Basil
- ‘Common’ Sage
- Basil Herb Foccacia
- Cherry Grove’s Artisanal Asiago Cheese
Crop of the Week – Eggplant
This is the first week for Ichiban eggplant, a long slender, Asian eggplant, that has a similar taste to Italian eggplant.
The eggplant, aubergine, or brinjal (Solanum melongena), is a plant of the family Solanaceae (also known as the nightshades) and genus Solanum. It bears a fruit of the same name, commonly used as a vegetable in cooking. As a nightshade, it is closely related to the tomato and potato and is native to India and Sri Lanka.
It is a delicate perennial often cultivated as an annual. It grows 40 to 150 cm (16 to 57 in) tall, with large coarsely lobed leaves that are 10 to 20 cm (4-8 in) long and 5 to 10 cm (2-4 in) broad. (Semi-)wild types can grow much larger, to 225 cm (7 ft) with large leaves over 30 cm (12 in) long and 15 cm (6 in) broad. The stem is often spiny. The flowers are white to purple, with a five-lobed corolla and yellow stamens. The fruit is fleshy, less than 3 cm in diameter on wild plants, but much larger in cultivated forms.
The fruit is botanically classified as a berry, and contains numerous small, soft seeds, which are edible, but are bitter because they contain (an insignificant amount of) nicotinoid alkaloids, unsurprising as it is a close relative of tobacco.
Different varieties of eggplant produce fruit of different size, shape and color, especially purple, green, or white. There are even orange varieties of eggplant.
The most widely cultivated varieties (cultivars) in Europe and North America today are elongated ovoid, 12-25 cm wide (4 1/2 to 9 in) and 6-9 cm broad (2 to 4 in) in a dark purple skin.
A much wider range of shapes, sizes and colors is grown in India and elsewhere in Asia. Larger varieties weighing up to a kilogram (2 pounds) grow in the region between the Ganges and Yamuna rivers, while smaller varieties are found elsewhere. Colors vary from white to yellow or green as well as reddish-purple and dark purple. Some cultivars have a color gradient, from white at the stem to bright pink to deep purple or even black. Green or purple cultivars in white striping also exist. Chinese eggplants are commonly shaped like a narrower, slightly pendulous cucumber, and sometimes were called Japanese eggplants in North America.
Oval or elongated oval-shaped and black-skinned cultivars include Harris Special Hibush, Burpee Hybrid, Black Magic, Classic, Dusky, and Black Beauty. Slim cultivars in purple-black skin include Little Fingers, Ichiban, Pingtung Long, and Tycoon; in green skin Louisiana Long Green and Thai (Long) Green; in white skin Dourga. Traditional, white-skinned, egg-shaped cultivars include Casper and Easter Egg. Bicolored cultivars with color gradient include Rosa Bianca and Violetta di Firenze. Bicolored cultivars in striping include Listada de Gandia and Udumalapet. In some parts of India, miniature varieties of eggplants (most commonly called Vengan) are popular.
Herb of the Week – Sage
Salvia officinalis (Sage, Common sage, Garden sage, Kitchen sage, Culinary sage, Dalmatian sage, Purple sage, Broadleaf sage, Red sage) is a small perennial evergreen subshrub, with woody stems, grayish leaves, and blue to purplish flowers. It is a member of the mint family, Lamiaceae. It is native to the Mediterranean region and commonly grown as a kitchen and medicinal herb or as an ornamental garden plant. The word sage or derived names are also used for a number of related and non related species.
As an herb, sage has a slight peppery flavor. In Western cooking, it is used for flavoring fatty meats (especially as a marinade), cheeses (Sage Derby), and some drinks. In the United States, Britain and Flanders, sage is used with onion for poultry or pork stuffing and also in sauces. In French cuisine, sage is used for cooking white meat and in vegetable soups. Germans often use it in sausage dishes, and sage forms the dominant flavoring in the English Lincolnshire sausage. Sage is also common in Italian cooking. Sage is sautéed in olive oil and butter until crisp, then plain or stuffed pasta is added (burro e salvia). In the Balkans and the Middle East, it is used when roasting mutton.
The Latin name for sage, salvia, means “to heal”. Although the effectiveness of Common Sage is open to debate, it has been recommended at one time or another for virtually every ailment. Modern evidence supports its effects as an anhidrotic, antibiotic, antifungal, astringent, antispasmodic, estrogenic, hypoglycemic, and tonic. In a double blind, randomized and placebo-controlled trial, sage was found to be effective in the management of mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.
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We are pleased to announce Picnic Lunch is now being served each week in our herb & flower garden on Thursday, Friday, & Saturday from 12-2. Come visit and enjoy a picnic lunch between the blossoms. The lunch menu includes a variety of sandwiches, salads, desert items, & beverages. This week’s menu features Chicken Salad with Celery & Red Onion Sandwich; Chicken Sausage, Peppers, & Onions Sandwich; and a delicious Grilled Vegetable Panini on Ciabatta Roll with Zucchini, Squash, Portabella Mushroom, & Balsamic Vinagrette.
If you are interested in helping out it any way, please get in touch with Johann at email@example.com or 908-359-5218.