Tuesday morning 8am in CAFB’s Agency Mart:
There is a bustle as our food assistance partners peruse the aisles and load up flatbed carts with frozen meat, canned goods, and fresh produce that is community bound to feed families in need.
Food bank staff beep by on pallet jacks while more staff stand facing long rows of shelving to stock canned goods. It is the top of the hour and this rhythm of stocking, loading, unloading and re-stocking repeats itself throughout the day.
Gaylords of fresh veggies sit on top of pallets in a rectangular configuration that I have come to think of as the fresh fruit and veggie aisle. Apples and greens abound, as expected in late September. But what catches my eye this morning is a sea of purple eggplant.
I stared down at the eggplant, a crown jewel from the season, and took in the abundance as the vegetables’ summer swan song.
Our produce guy Ronny Faragasso told me that this eggplant was part of a harvest excess from a farm in Maryland. The eggplant in the Agency Mart today was the reward reaped from the strong ties he forms with local farmers. Lucky for us, now this eggplant will go to neighbors in need.
But these “purple eggs” come with questions. A common one: what can I make with eggplant? Eggplant is a virtuous vegetable and here’s why we love it: it is easy to cut, does not require peeling or seed scraping, and offers a meaty texture to sauces and stir fries.
Here is a Spicy Eggplant Recipe from the CAFB Kitchen that I prepared at home last night (my garden has a similar end of season prolific eggplant situation going on).
For a firm texture, it is advised to salt the eggplant to draw out water. For those who don’t have the time (I reside in this camp), I like to lean into the liquid and appreciate its creamy quality in sauces and dips. Check out more eggplant tips on our Produce Guides.
Be Well and Eat Well!