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Valley Bounty: Asparagus

  • Eleanor Hebert of Williamsburg, left, purchases asparagus from Cindy Tobin of Easthampton-based Pepin Farm May 3, 2017 during the Florence Farmer's Market.


Friday, May 05, 2017
Asparagus

Human beings have been eating asparagus for a really long time, it turns out — Egyptian friezes depicting religious offerings of asparagus date as far back as 3,000 B.C.E., and an asparagus recipe is contained in the oldest surviving recipe collection, the third century Roman cookbook Apicius (which apparently also features a recipe for braised flamingo). The Roman Emperor Augustus even had a special Asparagus Fleet built for moving fresh asparagus around the Empire.

Given the vegetable’s long and globetrotting history, I’d say we’re pretty lucky to have some of the best in the world growing right here in our little Valley!

Farm fresh asparagus at the height of the season really doesn’t need much in the way of adornment — I usually toss mine in some olive oil and maybe a bit of minced garlic, grill or broil until it just starts to blacken, and finish with just a sprinkle of salt and pepper as an excellent side for chicken or fish. If you’re looking for a change of pace, try a drizzle of hollandaise or wrapping the spears in prosciutto — or chop up your asparagus and toss with pasta, butter, and squeeze of lemon juice.

Brian Snell of CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture)