Locally-grown Asparagus is this week’s Fresh Pick of the Week at the valley’s Certified Farmers’ Markets, and this year’s crop is both delicious and abundant! Asparagus has been used since early times, both for its delicate flavor, and for its diuretic properties. It was cultivated by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans - all of whom ate it fresh in Spring and Summer, and dried in Winter.
Today, most of us eat Asparagus when it is freshly picked (although it is also canned, pickled, marinated and frozen). The early shoots are actually the only part of the Asparagus plant that is typically used for culinary purposes. The shoots can be prepared and served in a number of ways - stir-fried, steamed, grilled, or boiled. The best Asparagus tends to be early growth shoots (meaning first of the season), which are often simply steamed and served along with melted butter.
Did you know: Asparagus is actually a member of the Lily family, and is closely related to the Asparagus Fern (although in reality neither plant is a fern at all). In gardens, Asparagus is often planted with Tomatoes because Asparagus repels root nematodes that harm Tomatoes, and Tomatoes repel the Asparagus Beetle which preys on the young Asparagus shoots.
Price: $3, $4 and $5 a bunch, depending on the farm and the size of the bunch.
Also in Season, and available now at all locations: Potatoes, Celery, Green Onions, FRESH and DRIED Herbs, Eggs, Dates, Almonds, Oranges, Grapefruit, Chard, Eggplant, Squash, Onions, Garlic, Apples, Shallots, Beets, Green Beans, Carrots, Tomatoes, Green Tomatoes, Peppers, Lettuces, Parsley, Mint, Broccoli, Cabbage, Spinach, Radishes, Leeks, Brussels Sprouts, Asparagus, Cherimoyas, Dates . . . . PLUS, incredible artisan breads, fresh meats, cheese, fresh raw honey, California olives/olive oil/vinegars, and a wide variety of exotic Orchids and flowers.