May 31, 2009
Yesterday was the Asparagus Festival at Verrill Farm in Concord, MA. Delicious farm fresh asparagus, of the green and purple varieties, at the cost of mildly distasteful pee. What a bargain–for $25 there was white pizza with the stalky, spry vegetable; plus sun-dried tomato and asparagus lasagna, quiche, and asparagus and leek soup. We left the picnic table with a bundle of rubber-banded goodies for the road. And that was just lunch.
To start the farm tour owner and agriculturist Steve Verrill showed us a field of lumpy sand. A little squatting later and a lot of tilting the head to the side we discovered girthy ones with compact tops, 3 foot thin ones with branches, and even one that looked like a fiddlehead fern. An asparagus field takes about 4 years to become established, but once it is, you can harvest from the plants twice a day in May. You can’t really use any machines though, so harvesting is essentially a bunch of people with scissors. Asparagus likes it dry, hence the sand, and is extremely sensitive to temperature. We saw some brilliant yellow, black and red beetles having some lunch as well. Mr. Verrill said the beetles are only an issue when the asparagus isn’t harvested right away, and it’s said that planting them next to tomatoes helps prevent the insects from snacking.
Besides making your whiz smell, asparagus is especially good for vitamin B.