Disease Proof

The Ethnic Veggie Market

I shop at a local farmers market every Saturday, and let me tell you, it’s a treat. Sure it’s crowded, there are wood shavings all over the floor, and hardly anyone speaks English, but, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Besides, where else could I get fresh broccoli raab, Chinese eggplants, cactus pears, and quality avocados?

Not to mention, as a full-blooded Italian, I love to overhear older Italian couples bickering about which head of escarole smells fresher. “No stupido! Questo e piu fresco.”

So naturally I think this next report is great. According to Associated Press, America’s ethnic population is having significant influence on farmers. Causing more and more farmers to grow traditionally non-American produce. Janet Frankston Lorin reports:
The explosion of immigrant populations is fueling the growth of ethnic vegetables like cilantro and bok choy, giving farmers new, and potentially more profitable, revenue streams to add to their American staples of corn, sweet peppers and tomatoes. They'll have less competition for this narrow niche, crops that an ethnic population would have consumed in their home country, now growing in small quantities in the U.S.

"Cilantro is widely used almost everywhere today," said John Formisano, whose family has been farming for nearly a century. "When we first started, most people hadn't ever heard of it."

Today, the American public may not recognize Chinese eggplant's long, slender purple shape, or aji dulce — small, colorful sweet peppers — two vegetables commonly used in Asian and Hispanic cooking.
Anyone else adore those eggplants? I buy them every week.
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Kathy - January 29, 2007 4:27 PM

I happened upon Chinese eggplant when I my store was out of the regular eggplant. Chinese eggplant is the yummiest. I steamed them and put nothing on them, couldn't get over how marvelous they tasted and so sweet!

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