A member of the nightshade family, this soft, voluptuous vegetable will absorb almost any flavour you put with it. This makes it great in curries, dips, sides and salads. It’s also a nutritional powerhouse, full of dietary fibre; C, K and B vitamins; as well as minerals including copper, phosphorus and magnesium.>
A taste of Tewkesbury’
We don’t grow aubergines at The Farm. We turn to specialist, Stephen Haslum, to supply us with these firm favourites. He runs a beautiful organic farm in Alderton near Tewkesbury Gloucestershire. The Haslum family have traditionally concentrated on being specialist tomato producers but also grow cucumbers, aubergine and beans. Stephen has three acres of glasshouses, half an acre of which is planted with Black Pearl Aubergines. He planted 2,000 at the end of January. After nurturing them for three months, Stephen began cropping in mid-April and will continue until late October.
Carbon neutral Aubergines are not the easiest crop to produce in Britain. They need warmth and heat to thrive. Because of the weather, most British growers would be unable to grow them outside. Stephen’s aubergines are raised in heated glasshouses. They’re heated by carbon neutral biomass boilers which run on locally-sourced straw.
The aubergines Stephen grows are 100% natural and organic. They grow in soil, and nothing is added except water from a reservoir (which collects rainwater run-off from the glasshouses) and biological crop pollination and protection. This includes bees to pollinate the plants and encarsia, which eat the whiteflies. Whiteflies are sap-sucking insects which attack greenhouse plants. Because of the widespread use of insecticides, and whiteflies rapid reproductive rate, many have become resistant to this form of protection. Biological control often offers better results on these greenhouse plants.