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Eggplant U-Pick farms in Northwestern Illinois 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.

Rock Island County

  • Happy Hollow U-Pick - asparagus, beans, beets, blackberries, broad beans, broccoli, carrots, corn (sweet), cucumbers, eggplant (aubergine), flowers, melons, onions, other berries, peas, peppers, pumpkins, raspberries, rhubarb, summer squash, winter squash, strawberries, tomatoes, other vegetables
    17325 - 20th Avenue North, East Moline, IL 61244. Phone: 309-496-1515. Email: Owners@HappyHollowUPick.com. Open: May: Asparagus Monday-Saturday from 12:00-5:00; June-July-Sept. Directions: 1 mile north of the Quad City Downs or 1 mile west of the Interstate 80 and 88 interchange. . Click here for a map and directions.
    Happy Hollow U-Pick Facebook page. . May: (Asparagus ) Monday-Saturday from 12:00-5:00; June-July-Sept.: Mon., Tues., Thurs., Fri., from 8:30-5:00, Wednesday 8:30-7:00 and Saturday 8:30-6; Closed Sundays and Holidays; then in October: Mon, Tues., Thurs - Fri 8:30-5, Wed., 8:30-7:00 and Saturday 8:30-6, Sunday 12:00-5; HOURS ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE AT A DAYS NOTICE; If you arrive at the farm 15 minutes before closing, you will not be allowed to go to the field to pick. Facebook page. Click here for a map to our farm. We are open May, October. Our claim to fame is the number of varieties of Hot Peppers that we grow. We grow about 30 varieties ranging from 0 on the Scovill rating up to 550,000. Our 48 varieties of vegetables are grown for taste and not high production yields. We also raise goats and sheep for meat and or pet sales. Month of October, We have a Haunted Hovel in conjunction with our local Barstow Volunteer Fire Dept. Voted in the Quad Cities to be the best for the last couple of years. Weekend Evenings in October.

Winnebago County

  • Harrison Market Gardens - CERTIFIED ORGANIC, asparagus, beans, beets, blackberries, blueberries, broccoli, carrots, corn (sweet), cucumbers, eggplant, herbs or spices, melons, onions, peppers, raspberries (black), rhubarb, summer squash, winter squash, strawberries, tomatoes, other vegetables, U-pick and already picked, porta-potties are available, picnic area
    9024 Harrison Road, Winnebago, IL 61088. Phone: 815-980-0589. Email: billjillbeyer@yahoo.com. Directions: We are located aboaut 10 miles northwest of Rockford, Illinois. . Click here for a map and directions. Payment: Cash, Check. . Alternate Phone: 618-967-4729. . We are a subscription pick your own and also offer CSA shares; You can choose either a weekly ($475) or bi - weekly ($325) pick that runs from May through October; Once you have had your initial pick/training, your family can come out whenever convenient;; ; any day of the week any time of the day. We are registered naturally grown for all crops.

 

Eggplant

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)