ROUGHWOOD/EFN EXCLUSIVE. 'Chi Yei' is an incredibly early, fast-ripening eggplant variety from China. It was donated to the USDA collection by the Beijing Academy of Agricultural and Forestry Science in 1979. Fruit are round, almost globe-shaped, with firm flesh and shiny, deep purple skin. The stems are also dark purple, and the leaves have a dark tint to them as well, which perhaps explains why these eggplants seem to withstand flea beetle infestations better than others. If you want an extra-early eggplant, try the 'Chi Yei'. Grown ecologically in New Jersey by the Experimental Farm Network.