Devil veg finding new audience
IT MAY have been part of the staple diet during the Depression, but over the years the humble choko lost its appeal to the broader public.
Described by some as the “devil of the vegetable world” the choko just didn’t stack up to the more ‘trendy’ vegetables that were taking over the restaurants of the world.
But in recent times, people have started paying attention to the under-rated vegetable. It is, once again, finding its way onto the dining tables in some of the fanciest of restaurants across the world.
Apparently not only is it tasty but it can protect you from depression and fatigue, improves wound healing, decreases irritability, and the list goes on. Maybe, just maybe, we could get it included in the growing list of super foods.
So why on earth would I decide to write this week’s piece on this vegetable?
Well it seems there is a little competition happening in the hills of Eukey.
What began as the simple exchanging of chokos over the back fence has now become a fully fledged, bragging rights competition. Add in a little social media and we have ourselves a choko “grow-off”.
People from both ends of the region (firefighters from Ballandean, ex-councillors from the Southern Downs and a retired teacher/artist) have been sending in photos of their biggest choko and the largest vines and whilst I am the first to have a weakness for any dish containing choko, my lack of a green thumb prohibits me from putting anything up on show.
My husband, on the other hand, has thrown himself into the competition and is even helping to organise the first Choko Harvest Festival (not sure that it really has the appeal of an Apple and Grape Harvest Festival – but nothing surprises me).
There is even a local cafe that wants to be a part of the celebrations, offering to showcase the delicacy in many of its varying forms.
So, if you have a penchant for the good old choko, I can put you in touch with the most overzealous, contrasting bunch of vegetable farmers you can find.