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A Hard Day's Nightshade 

The globetrotting eggplant — whether it's the familiar purple, lavender, striped or white variety — has provided dozens of cultures a bulbous, vegetarian-friendly meat alternative for centuries. With its roots in Indian and Chinese cuisine from as early as 500 B.C., its meat-replacing takeover extended into Europe via Moors in Spain and Arabs in Italy. The plump nightshade is found stewed in ratatouille or mashed in baba ghanoush, sauteed in moussaka, or fried a la Parmigiano. The Southern varietals at your local market thrive in high heat, perfect for south Louisiana summers. Find them at the Gretna Farmers Market and Crescent City Farmers Market throughout the summer.

The Gretna Farmers Market is at Huey P. Long Avenue between Third and Fourth streets in Gretna from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturdays (closed for July 4). The Crescent City Farmers Market is at Uptown Square on River Road from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays and Magazine and Girod streets from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturdays.

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