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Asparagus Season

Those who follow my Twitter feed (@ortdavid) may  have seen some pictures I tweeted last weekend of the garden at the cottage.  When we got there at an ungodly early hour there was still a heavy dusting of fresh snow on the ground but in the garden green and purple asparagus were poking through the soil and were having none of this held-over winter.

Solitary asparagus spear being kept company by a strawberry plant

Alex–cousin, cottage neighbour, fellow culinary schemer–and I decided to collaborate (we often compete in the world of vegetable gardening) on planting a bed of asparagus.  In late spring 2008 we planted some Isla asparagus that I had started from seed and some asparagus crowns that he found at a gardening centre.  The first year they produced these wispy crosses between a fern and a baby pine tree.  In the second year, 2009, they were a bit more substantial but still too small to harvest.  But, this our third year is supposed to be when we can finally take a limited harvest for eating a sample of the future (some sites say decades) of asparagus bounty.

I’m by no means dogmatic about eating locally but sticking to in-season asparagus is one place I toe the line.  On a January shopping trip a little over a year ago my partner in grocery crime (metaphorically, of course; there was no shoplifting involved) picked up a bunch of asparagus and from halfway across the produce section at the Forest Hill Market non-verbally communicated something along the lines of “these look alright, shall we get some and have them for dinner?”  Apparently, my reaction (also unspoken) was severe enough to warrant her dropping the offending spears and me receiving three or four aisles of the silent treatment.

Extrapolating the quality difference of local, seasonal asparagus over air-freighted mid-winter asparagus I’m pretty confident that this homegrown crop will be amazing.  I think I may go the whole nine, fancy French yards and peel the stems blanch them for a couple minutes and serve them with a sauce ending in “aise”.

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Posted in: Harvest, Vegetables, Weather.

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