Pink Eggplant and Miniature Sweet Peppers

MeigsMan(6b)August 22, 2013

It's always good to find a successful niche product for the market. But sometimes they are just too weird to sell. Has anyone here tried to sell pink and purple Italian heirloom eggplants? There are a lot of small beautiful epplants out there but they are a long ways from the large dark purple eggplants that everyone is used to.

Also Johnny's Selected Seeds have the 'Lunchbox' sweet peppers that could be sold in pulp fiber baskets. I'm going to give it a try but it sounds so high risk that I won't grow too many. Any luck with these?

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The purplish Italian eggplant "Prosperosa" sells well once you get people to try them. I don't know about the pink ones.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 5:04PM
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Eggplant can be a tough sell - I have found that many people have no idea what to do with it. Those that do (and the adventurous who do not but are willing to try) mostly go with the traditional dark purple ones. We sell probably 4X those than the "specialty" types. We do grow Ghost (white) and Purple Rain (purple/white fleck) which sell OK but the long oriental types are pretty much non-starters (although a few people like them for grilling). Never tried the pink.

The mini-peppers sell pretty good. We are just starting have them this year (if I can keep them away from my nephew who eats them like candy). Last year we sold all we could produce. Along the same lines we had Marconi peppers which are a little bigger but sweet like sugar. They sell well, also.


    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 8:22PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

I grow Rosa Bianca and have to tell every single person what it is. they think they are beautiful and when I say the are the mildest in the world they think about it. I sell a lot of small sweet peppers. The mini kind in the bag at the store in 3 colors are very popular so once I say that is what mine are like people buy. Otherwise they are afraid anything not bell is hot. But the popularity of the mini sweets has turned that around.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 9:53PM
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One idea I had to get people to try frying peppers and specialty eggplant is to offer a 'grilling combo': zuchinni, squash, eggplant and pepper together in a container. And I would have a nice picture of the finished grilled meal pinned to my stand. That should get the grill masters to try it.

And good news from you all on the miniature peppers. I will grow more than I was thinking originally.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 3:59PM
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I'm encouraged about the news that white eggplant can be sold well. I would never eat a white eggplant in a million years so I had thought others would be scared of the color. So I would think that pink or purple striped varieties would do as good, being more normal colors and all. LOL

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 5:55PM
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The worst thing about the white EP is they show every imperfection. I would venture that there are the same imperfections of purple and purple/white but the white color magnifies them. My personal feeling that there is a little less bitterness in the white's but have no scientific evidence to back that up.


    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 9:37PM
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I agree with Tom - white eggplants are much less bitter (although many of the miniature purple or striped types are also mild-tasting. Rosa Bianca is also excellent).

I have a bit of a mixed feeling regarding specialty EPs. It's one of my key crops, because I just love growing them and eating them. I have noticed that many customers are leery about trying them because they don't look big and purple, like Black Beauty. I've had customers who think I'm stupid because I pick them too early. I've had customers who think I'm clueless because I can't grow "big fat" eggplants. I've had customers who even thought the big ones taste better because they're big. I've even had a vendor ask me "you grow the little ones???" with a smirk. I wonder why. Sometimes, it's very frustrating. On the other hand, many customers who've been encouraged to buy them have come back and told me they were the best eggplants they ever tasted. That makes me happy. So I continue selling my cute little eggplants.

I echo the advice to selling a "grilling mix". I have good success selling a ratatouillle mix - peppers, EPs, squash, tomatoes and yellow onions.

If you're allowed to, grill or fry up a few and offer them as samples to customers who think the big ones taste better. Their palate will be the best method of persuasion.

One thing we should all keep in mind is that EPs are native to India, where the big Black Beauty types are not eaten anywhere near as often as the smaller types. I really wonder why anyone would eat the large eggplants - they don't taste as good and are not as tender as small-fruited varieties.

This post was edited by Slimy_Okra on Thu, Aug 29, 13 at 0:50

    Bookmark   August 29, 2013 at 12:47AM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

Plus one!!!

    Bookmark   August 30, 2013 at 9:14AM
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sandy0225(z5 Indiana)

I'm not having good luck with the snack peppers selling. I'm dropping them this next year. I put out 25 plants and have not sold very many at all. Most of mine have ended up in the freezer! I have tried various things, you're not allowed to sample here unless it's whole uncut veggies, and you don't want to give one to each customer. I tried open pints, laying them out on the table with a big sign and bagging them up so they looked more commercial. NO GO. Good luck! Now the eggplants, I can sell those, in any color. But only within reason, here in Indiana, too many eggplants means you'll be taking them home with you. One outlet you can try is the local thai restaurant after the market though. Ours will take a 1/2 bushel a week or so if you have them left over after the market.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2013 at 6:02PM
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