(Solanum melongena); Heritage; Minimum 20 seeds
With roots as far back as 1648, the size, shape, and color of Yoshikawa nasu evoke the prosperity associated with the richly purple moneybags (saifu) of old. Once common in the fertile fields surrounding Japan's former Yoshikawa Village, cultivation reached its peak around 1942 to 1943. Unfortunately, as with many a crop, market permeation of varieties bred for yield and commercially desired traits hastened the near disappearance of Yoshikawa nasu with the 2009 passing of the last known producer. Thankfully, though dedicated efforts the designation of Yoshikawa nasu as a traditional Japanese specialty product means it is enjoying a resurgance in demand within refined culinary circles, prized for being small-seeded with a firmness in texture that resists going mushy when cooked.
Hearty bushes reach 30 inches and are generous in production of their glossy, blackish-purple delicate fruits. Japanese farmers are known to prune plants to just 3 or 4 branches in addition to the main stem. Typical to the species, Yoshikawa nasu's fruits do have thorns on their calyx.