Vegetable Anthropomorphism (because it’s that kind of day)

The Wall-O-Rain hits Greenbranch Farm, 10:40am, August 12, 2010.

When I arrived at the farm on Thursday, there was a storm a-brewing. A big one. It was so dark that turning the lights on in the store actually made a difference. Then the rains came. Big rain. Monsoon-like rain. And I’ve been to India during monsoon season and some of my clothes from that trip are still damp.

Even the toads were seeking shelter inside the sh0p.

"Oh, uh, hi. I was just wondering if you had any heirloom tomatoes? Oh, okay. Look, just please don't mention I was here to the wife. She thinks I can swim."

With not another farmhand in sight, I was able to coax the vegetables out of their shells and get them to pose for a few pictures. Once they got going, it was quite a show I tell you. Hey wait, why don’t I just show you.

First , there was the sinuous Armenian Cucumber. Besides it’s decidedly sexy good looks, that cucumber tastes more like a cucumber than “regular” cucumbers, and without the bitter edge. Almost has honeydew overtones, I tell you. Probably because these babies are actually melons. But they taste like cukes, really! You can, however, see why they are called “snake melons” in other parts of the world. Don’t be afraid. The skin is burpless, has no bitterness, is very thin and the fruit is almost always used without peeling.

" I sssssseeeee you, little toad... and just as soon as I'm done with my photo shoot, you're going to find out what Armenian Cucumbers have for breakfassssst."

They’re very popular in Middle Eastern countries, and one of the most delicious ways to prepare it is to dice it up very small, and mix it into plain yogurt with some finely chopped fresh mint or dill, salt and pepper. For extra kick, add fresh crushed garlic. Really refreshing as a side dish for grilled meats or as a dip for veggies if you use the thick Greek-style yogurt.

Not to be outdone by a mere cucurbit, the tomatoes insisted on having their 15 minutes of fame, too. (Yes, AGAIN.)

Here they are, the media darlings of 2010. Not a hybrid in sight. At least not in this shot. Note the use of flash. It was dark, I tell you, at 11am!

But what really surprised me were the eggplants. Normally humble, and often overlooked, content to be wallflowers despite their sublime culinary potential and outstanding shiny shades of purple, even they wanted to come out and play in the rain!

This is where we play "Name that Vegetable." The one on the left is Joe, and on the right goes by Billy. Now these are eggplants with personality. And they're not even cooked! Imagine when they become saucy little things!

But it was the deadheads, in all their tye-dyed and batiked glory, that really stole the show.

Their cousins, the sweet pimento and the spicy hungarian hot wax peppers insisted I get a shot of them, too.

"Hey, man, that flash is really messing with my buzz!" "Ridin that train..." Hippie peppers with their all-natural waxy sheen are a trip by themselves!

"Let me know if you need help with anything, Miss," said the pimento. "Is it hot in here to you? No? Oh, I guess that's just me," said the hungarian hot wax.

Now, I’ve been warned not to showcase the eggs straight from the hens that laid them. They need a good bath before they get to greet their public. But eggs are crafty, you see, and have ways of talking logic at you that tires you until you give in. And since I had indeed run through a downpour of rain, carrying those eggs all in one basket from the henhouse to the store, they had a point. And it was this: “But we already had a shower!” So, just this once, I decided they could show themselves, in all their pre-primpedness.

Don't try this at home. Always use at least two baskets!

Now the sunflowers were the only ones that really gave me some trouble. You see, they didn’t want to be featured in a spread with mere vegetables, though they lamely tried to plead consideration, as in, “Well, let the vegetables have their day. We wouldn’t want to steal the show.” But in fact, they were holding out for a professional photographer. No such luck. “Smile!”

"Wait, wait! Did you get my good side?"

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