Fresh shoots of green goodness popping up out of the ground. Tender and sweet. So delightfully better tasting than even the locally grown bunches in Wegmans or at roadside stands. There’s a nuance to the flavor that must fade during storage.
Our own lovely verdant stalks don’t sit around long. They’re cut just feet from the back door, rinsed, steamed and on our forks within minutes — tossed with lemon grapeseed or olive oil and fresh cracked pepper or sea salt; diced into a barley salad; or folded into an omelet.
It’s been so rewarding to finally harvest meals’ worth of asparagus after long years of waiting.
Kevin recently reminded me of just how long our asparagus journey has been.
We first attempted, years ago, to dig up and transplant a friend’s patch. We showed up with shovels and boxes, carefully lifted the mature crowns, brought them home and lovingly placed them in a raised bed fortified with manure and compost. We watered and mulched, then patiently waited the following spring for tell-tale signs of greenery.
Evidently, mature asparagus don’t transplant well.
So, the following fall, I ordered hybrid male crowns from a national nursery and prepared deep ditches, filled with manure, rich compost and peat moss. Ten green and 10 purple crowns arrived in the mail long after the ground had frozen, so I did the best I could to settle them into their new home under less-than-ideal conditions.
We watered and mulched, then patiently waited the following spring for tell-tale signs of greenery.
Only one green and one purple made it through. We didn’t have the heart to cut them, since obviously they’d beaten long odds to stay alive.
So, later that spring, I bought a packet of Mary Washington seeds. It might take longer for asparagus seedlings to reach maturity, but I reasoned that I could better control their growing conditions.
I prepared a raised bed, scattered the seeds, and then patiently waited for tell-tale signs of greenery.
After several weeks, skinny baby stalks appeared topped by fine, fern heads.
We watered and mulched, and then patiently waited for them to mature. Each summer, they grew taller and fuller.
Three long years later, we’re finally enjoying the fruits of our labor.
And, it’s so delicious!