When last I saw Stokes Farm's Italian Heirloom Eggplant of Unknown Proper Name, I was picking out the last four edible looking ones from a dozen or so stragglers at what, I presumed at 11 am on a Saturday, was the tail end of their season.
Not so. Another whole bin of magnificent specimens greeted me this Saturday. A got a different woman at checkout this time, so I thought I'd ask again if they had a more specific name. She looked blank, but asked a guy (if I were friendlier or chattier or something, I guess I could supply names for these nice people, but we all work with what God gave us.), who had the goods.
"Bitter Balls". (I instinctively went with the wide eyes, forward head tilt thing; but don't be ashamed to snicker.)
I felt like Woodward and/or Bernstein! The Goods! The Dirt! The Dish! I had it!
But it was after I took a whim to not rest on those majestic laurels and Googled "bitter ball" eggplant, and subsequently "orange eggplant" that I got the real scoop. From web pages like this and this and this, I eventually came to the conclusion that IHEOUPN isn't Italian at all, but African. Although the photo on this site looks even more like the ones I have (or would if the Brazilians would let them ripen all the way) so maybe Afro-Brazilian. How festive!
I hope you're ok with this startling revelation.