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Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Asparagus Capital of the World
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 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?
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.