There are no excuses not to have eggplant on the menu in New Jersey. The Garden State is No. 1 in the nation in acres of eggplant harvested, according to the Census of Agriculture.
New Jersey harvests 849 acres of eggplant annually, ahead of California’s 705, Florida’s 685 and Georgia’s 624. No other state had more than 500 acres of eggplant harvested.
New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas Fisher, along with state, county and local officials, recently visited Flaim Farms, which harvests approximately 900 bushels of eggplant per day during the peak of the season (which is now). The Vineland farm’s Italian, regular, Sicilian, Indian, zebra, white and fairytale varieties of eggplant are shipped as far as Chicago, Maine and the Eastern seaboard.
“We are having a good harvesting season right now,” said Bob Flaim Jr., who co-owns the operation with his brother Kevin. “The temperatures have made for ideal growing conditions in the last couple of weeks, with it being in the 60s at night and the 80s during the day.”
As for the question of whether eggplant is a vegetable or a fruit, answers please on a postcard, along with your best recipe for eggplant parm.