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Eggplant U-Pick farms in Tampa area, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, west Florida in 2024, by county

Below are the U-Pick farms for eggplants that we know of in this area. Not all areas of any state, nor even every state, have eggplants orchards that are open to the public. If you know of any others, please tell us using the add a farm form!

Remember to always check with the farm's own website or Facebook page before you go - or call or email them if they don't have a website or Facebook page. Conditions at the farms and crops can change literally overnight, so if you want to avoid a wasted trip out there - check with the farm directly before you go! If I cannot reach them, I DON'T GO!

PLEASE report closed farms, broken links and incorrect info using the "Report Corrections" form below.

Hillsborough County

  • Big Bear Farms, Inc - CERTIFIED ORGANIC, beans, blueberries, broad beans, carrots, corn (sweet), eggplant, okra, onions, peas, peppers, summer squash, tomatoes, other vegetables, Other fruit or veg, prepicked produce, restrooms
    7606 Kinard Road, Plant City, FL 33565. Phone: 813-986-1152. Email: Open: crops available, days and hours vary with the season; Please check on our website or call for current days and times. Directions: From Tampa take I-4 East to Exit 14 \(Mcintosh Road \) Turn Left \(North\) on Mcintosh and go under overpass to first road on Right. Turn Right on Gore Road and take curve to Left where road turns into Gallagher Road Travel North on Gallagher to Kinard Road on Right. NOT Kinard Cove. Turn Right on Kinard Road and farm is 14 mile on Right. Click here for a map and directions. Payment: Cash, only. . Fax:. . From Tampa take I-4 East to Exit 14 (Mcintosh Road ) Turn Left (North) on Mcintosh and go under overpass to first road on Right. Turn Right on Gore Road and take curve to Left where road turns into Gallagher Road Travel North on Gallagher to Kinard Road on Right. NOT Kinard Cove. Turn Right on Kinard Road and farm is 1/4 mile on Right. Crops are usually available in March, April, May, June, July, October, November, December. We are certified organic for all crops! Cabbage, Collards, Mustard, Turnips, Lettuce, Spinach, Okra. Big Bear Farms, Inc. is a family owned and operated Certified ORGANIC Fruit and Vegetable farm. We operate under the strict rules of the USDA - National Organic Program (NOP) and are certified by Quality Certification Services (QCS). Unlike many farms that only claim to be organic we are the REAL DEAL and have the documents proudly on display to prove it. Why buy imported fruit and vegetables from unregulated countries that have been sprayed with all types of banned chemicals when you can have better at lower prices.Not only do we supply the commercial market with blueberries, we also take pride in our ability to provide the individual local public comsumer with that personal touch in the growing, processing and packing that they deserve in supplying the needs of their families. (UPDATED: July 28, 2010, by phone)
  • Hydro Harvest Farms - Uses integrated pest management practices, beans, beets, broccoli, carrots, cucumbers, eggplant, herbs or spices, onions, peas, peppers, summer squash, strawberries, tomatoes, other vegetables, Other fruit or veg, U-pick and already picked, farm market, concessions or refreshment stand, porta-potties are available, picnic area, school tours
    1101 E Shell Point Rd, Ruskin, FL 33570. Phone: 813-645-6574. Email: Open: In March 2021, their website says "U-Pick Farm is Temporarily Closed We want everyone to stay safe and we will get through this" normally, Monday through Saturday 10 am to 5: Sunday 11 am to 4; June through August hours differ so please check our website for more info. Directions: Take I 75 to Exit 240, Ruskin. Go west and at second light turn right \(21 street east\). Go to stop sign \(Shell Point Road E\), turn left. farm will be 12 mile on the left. . Click here for a map and directions. Payment: Cash, Check, Debit cards, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, AmEx, SFMNP Vouchers.
    Hydro Harvest Farms Facebook page. . Alternate Phone: 941-915-7208. . Picking updates: Click here for picking updates. Take I 75 to Exit 240, Ruskin. Go west and at second light turn right (21 street east). Go to stop sign (Shell Point Road E), turn left. farm will be 1/2 mile on the left. We have many seasonal crops all year round, to pick; Strawberries are usually ready starting in December and go through May We have free Hydroponic Growing Classes, Canning Classes, Halloween Boo Fest Even (see our website for this year's date in October)), Santa at the Farm, Easter Eggstravaganza Event; Sign up for our weekly email for updates on what is picking and what free events we have; The sign up info is on our website. We use integrated pest management practices. is a hydroponic vertical growing farm. We use no pesticides, very little water, 1/6 the land and teach families, schools and businesses how to do this themselves. We have a great Grant Website for School Gardens. We have school field trips and a nice picnic area to make a nice day of picking.If you are coming to pick your own, we use no GMO, we supply the baskets and scissors if you need them, you don't have to bend to pick, the farm is covered for easy mobility and best of all we love pets!.



Eggplant Picking Tips, Recipes and Information

Most people are familiar with the large roundish dark purple/black eggplant used in making Eggplant Parmesan. But there are many other varieties with many uses. Here's what you need to know about eggplants, how to choose them, how to harvest them and how to use them!

Know when to harvest eggplant:

  •  Size and Color: Most eggplant varieties are typically harvested when they reach a mature size and have developed a deep, glossy color. The skin should be uniformly colored, whether it's purple, green, or white, depending on the variety.
  •  Texture: Gently press your finger against the eggplant's skin. Ripe eggplants should feel firm but slightly yield to pressure. Avoid eggplants that have soft spots or are overly mushy.
  •  Shiny Skin: Ripe eggplants have a shiny appearance, indicating that they are ready for harvest.

How to harvest eggplants

  •  Tools: To harvest eggplants, you'll need a pair of sharp garden shears or a knife.
  •  Stems: Look for the stem attached to the eggplant. It should be firm and green. Avoid harvesting eggplants with dry or withered stems.
  •  Cutting: Hold the eggplant near the stem and carefully cut it off using the shears or a knife. Leave a short portion of the stem attached to the fruit. Make sure not to damage the eggplant or nearby foliage during the process.
  •   Sharp parts: watch out for the pointy edges at the base of the stem.  They are SHARP!
  •  Quantity: Harvest one eggplant at a time, or if you have multiple ripe fruits, you can harvest them in a single session.

Storing eggplant

  • Handling: Handle harvested eggplants with care to avoid bruising or damage. Place them gently in a basket or container to prevent them from being squished or bumped around.
  • Storage: If you're not using the eggplants immediately, store them in a cool, dry place, such as the refrigerator. They can last for up to a week, but usually no longer, when properly stored. Avoid washing the eggplants before storing, as moisture can promote spoilage.
  • Culinary uses: Once harvested, the eggplants are ready to be enjoyed in various recipes. From grilling and roasting to stir-fries and bakes, there are numerous delicious dishes to explore with freshly harvested eggplants.

Remember, it's essential to harvest eggplants at the right time to ensure optimal flavor and texture. By paying attention to the size, color, texture, and stem condition, you can confidently harvest ripe and flavorful eggplants for your culinary delights.

Varieties and Types of Eggplant

The most common types of eggplants and their uses are:

  1.  Globe Eggplant: The globe eggplant is the most common variety and is known for its large, round shape and glossy purple skin. It has a mild, slightly sweet flavor and creamy texture when cooked. Globe eggplants are versatile and can be used in various dishes, including stews, curries, stir-fries, and grilled preparations.

  2. Japanese Eggplant: Japanese eggplants are long and slender with dark purple skin and a tender, delicate flavor. They have fewer seeds and a sweeter taste compared to the globe variety. Japanese eggplants are perfect for stir-fries, tempura, roasting, or grilling. Due to their thin skin, they cook quickly and can be used in recipes that require less cooking time.
  3.  Italian Eggplant: Also known as the "baby eggplant" or "aubergine," Italian eggplants are small-sized with deep purple skin and a rich, slightly bitter taste. They have a firm texture and hold their shape well when cooked, making them ideal for grilling, roasting, or stuffing. They are commonly used in Mediterranean dishes like ratatouille, caponata, or eggplant Parmesan.
  4. Thai Eggplant: Thai eggplants come in various colors and sizes, including green, white, or striped varieties. They are small and round, similar to cherry tomatoes. Thai eggplants have a slightly bitter taste and firm texture. They are commonly used in Southeast Asian cuisine, particularly in curries, stir-fries, and spicy salads.
  5. Indian Eggplant: Indian eggplants, also known as "brinjals" or "baingan," have a small to medium size and come in different shapes and colors, such as round, elongated, or striped varieties. They have a slightly bitter taste and a dense, meaty texture. Indian eggplants are frequently used in traditional Indian recipes like baingan bharta (roasted and mashed eggplant), curries, pickles, or stuffed dishes.
  6.  White Eggplant: White eggplants have a unique appearance with creamy white skin. They are similar in shape and size to the globe variety but have a slightly milder taste. White eggplants are often used in dishes where their color stands out, such as stir-fries, casseroles, or salads. They can also be grilled or baked for a subtle and elegant presentation.



Other Local Farm Products (Honey, Horses, Milk, Meat, Eggs, Etc.)
(NOT pick-your-own, unless they are also listed above)