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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Asparagus Capital of the World

asparagus field

I thought I'd show you some local "products." Unless you live in Michigan or some parts of California, you might not think about asparagus all that much. Here, it's a defining factor. One nearby town bills itself as the "Asparagus Capital of the World." They have a festival, recipe contests, and crown Mrs. Asparagus every year.

I saw the first pickers of the year working this week.

asparagus field

Asparagus grows out of the ground in bare stalks from "crowns," which are clumps of roots. When the stalk is cut before the feathery leaves open the crown will just sprout another! You want to let the last one or two grow so that the plant can rejuvenate itself for the next year. So how do all those stalks get harvested?

asparagus picker

By hand. Picking asparagus all day is really hard work. People ride on those "wings" while the machine is continuously moving. They have to lean forward and cut off the stalks and put them in a "lug" (the box). And they keep doing it day after day. Most of the harvesters are migrant workers.

I have enough asparagus in my "kingdom, just growing wild, to enjoy a couple of free meals each year, no machine required.


Eric : Manila Blog said...

I'm not aware that there's a place called "asparagus capital of the world".

i'm curious, does it grow forever since it keeps on sprouting?

RNSANE said...

I love asparagus - and artichokes...Castroville, CA is known at the "artichoke capital of the world" - you can see miles of them growing on the coast between here and Monterey.

Secondary Roads said...

We love asparagus, but only have a couple of plants here. About once a week we drive past a farm where they grow it. We usually stop and buy a pound.

betchai said...

oh, i love asparagus, so easy to prepare and can go with anything :)

John said...

Most of the asparagus in the U.K. is imported from Peru, with a small amount coming from Argentina, Thailand and U.S.A. Apart from during the short U.K. season that is, mid April to mid June.

How do I know all this random stuff about asparagus? I used to be a taste tester for a major supplier! :-)

Ann said...

I'm not a big fan of asparagus. I can eat it but I don't really like it too much. I didn't know that was how it was grown though. I certainly wouldn't want to be one of those people who has to do all that picking.

Ferd said...

Love asparagus! Once in a while.
Maybe I'll post about a local crop. Good idea!

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