Here at Red-Bud organic farm, there are a wide variety of plants growing for food. Due to the farmer’s background, many of them are of Asian descent. Although not ethnically Indian, the farmer lived in India for two years while in the Peace Corps. He taught local farmers about agriculture, and suggested certain crops for them to grow based on environmental factors. For example, in areas where it rained quite frequently, he suggested a variety of rice that would have high yield with heavy rainfall.
By far the most intriguing vegetable growing here, is bitter gourd. Bitter gourd, balsam pear, and bitter melon, all refer to the same crop. It’s native to the Asian continent, and commonly consumed in Indian, Chinese, and Thai dishes. As the name would suggest, bitter gourd is quite bitter. People sauté slices of it, add it to soups, or hollow it out and stuff it. Despite its bitter taste, it’s actually a member of the cucurbitaceae family. This makes it a close relative of watermelon, cucumbers, and squash. The texture is quite rubbery, and warts protrude out on its flesh. The gourd is eaten while green, hence immature. It will eventually turn yellow, however it would no longer be used in cooking.
The Indian eggplant is similar to any other eggplant, however smaller in size.
Oriental eggplant, or Japanese eggplant, is a long very thin fruit. In the photo below, they are on the bottom left.
On the farm, they grow several types of peppers: bell peppers, sweet Italian peppers, poblanos, jalapenos, cayenne, and Indian chili peppers.
The hottest pepper is the Indian pepper. They are added to stews and soups, dried and ground, and eaten green or red. They are pictured below on the right.
The only type of flowers they grow on the farm are zinnias. They are beautiful flowers, coming in red, orange, yellow, pink, purple, and white. I have been given many for my dining room table. 🙂
Although I’d eaten it before, I had never seen okra growing until I came to Red-Bud.