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Dale Williams

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Wisdom of the Masses- eggplant and squash

by Dale Williams » Sun Sep 15, 2013 11:01 pm

I love variety. I tend to choose what I haven't had recently. My eyes light up when I see a Grignolino or Poulsard in wine section, razor clams or Dungeness crab (rare on East Coast), gamebirds or rabbit loin, etc in market. I'm always happy to try something new. Same applies in produce--mizuna wins over spinach, kohlrabi over potatoes,etc. Of course, in produce looks matter as well.
But I've realized recently than my ideal of "wow, that's different, and looks good" doesn't necessarily work well with produce. Sure, great looking mizuna is a locked-in winner. But in 2 categories- summer squash and eggplant- the beautiful/unusual cutlivars seem to run a distant second to the classics.
Those cool looking white squash, the pattypans, etc- crookneck and zucchini taste a lot better.
Purple and white striped eggplant, green and whites, plain whites, round ones, etc- dark Italian ones or classic Japanese are a lot more flavorful.
Maybe they are the dominant types for a reason.
Those are the only 2 categories I can think of where, consistently, the cultivars sold in mass market stores taste better than "exotic" varieties (but a locally grown Japanese eggplant or crookneck is definitely better than supermarket version).
Agree? Disagree? Other examples?
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David M. Bueker

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Re: Wisdom of the Masses- eggplant and squash

by David M. Bueker » Mon Sep 16, 2013 9:26 am

Hard for me to judge since all of the eggplant I eat comes from a farm 3 miles from my house. It all tastes good!

As for zucchii and yellow squash, I have to douse it in so much sauce (to get it past Laura) that it could be just about anything. :mrgreen:
There behind the glass lies a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass. Move along. Move along.
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Mark Lipton

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Re: Wisdom of the Masses- eggplant and squash

by Mark Lipton » Mon Sep 16, 2013 12:02 pm

That's a good point, Dale. I don't see a lot of "heirloom" cultivars of eggplant and squash. Perhaps the issue is that, unlike tomatoes, corn, potatoes, etc., those vegetables didn't undergo a lot of hybridization to promote shelf life and appearance, so we're still eating varieties that aren't very different from what our ancestors had?

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Karen/NoCA

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Re: Wisdom of the Masses- eggplant and squash

by Karen/NoCA » Mon Sep 16, 2013 12:51 pm

I enjoy all of it and will try most anything new. Especially, heirloom tomatoes and squashes. Our growers are really into many different varieties of squashes and I have not found one I dislike. Same with the garlic, lots of new potatoes were there this year and are still coming in. Lots of different kales, golden beets, and new types of plums. The peach season lasted a long time, because there are early and late varieties. My favorite peach by far is the O'Henry...not only is it beautiful but delicious. It's only available about three weeks. The peaches now are the late peaches, they are harder and less tasty, but still very good. I brought home a bunch of seedless purple grapes last week....excellent tatse, like a good wine. I wait for these small grapes every year. They had bins of delicious looking grapes of so many colors but these are the only seedless purple variety. Eggplant is usually the same purple type and one almost a dark pink. The Japanese white was there about two weeks, I like it because it does not have the seeds that the others have.
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Joy Lindholm

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Re: Wisdom of the Masses- eggplant and squash

by Joy Lindholm » Mon Sep 16, 2013 1:35 pm

I don't think the issue here is lack of variety of heirloom squash or eggplant (one of the seed companies I order from has over 60 varieties of heirloom eggplant and more than 120 varieties of squash), but rather the lack of appeal to the masses in general. Tomatoes have so many popular varieties because people love tomatoes and often grow them themselves. I don't see a whole lot of gardens full of eggplant (unless you are my next door neighbors from Thailand!) and as we all know squash tends to take over everything if you have more than a few plants.

While the classic varieties of squash and eggplant can be delicious, I have really enjoyed growing dozens of varieties of each over the years, and cannot concede that the classics are more tasty than other heirlooms. I enjoy the diversity in my garden and won't go back to growing just the standards ever.

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