Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Asparagus et al.: What I look forward to at the Farmer's Market

I don't remember when was the first time I had asparagus. I didn't grow up with it, but somehow I knew the vegetable. I guess my first encounter with asparagus was not as dramatic nor impressive as the one with bagels. The cooked spears tasted pretty bland. I didn't bother with them for a long time. Once my friend, who was in a graduate school then, invited some friends over for dinner. He fed us wonderful food, and his grilled asparagus was excellent. I learned that asparagus can be good, very good.
Now fast forward a couple of years. I am buying freshly picked asparagus from the farmer's market. The same day, I am cooking the asparagus, trying not to overcook and keep the bright green color. They are so sweet, fresh, and delicious! People have a myth about the thickness of asparagus and try to pick thin ones. I had great tasting asparagus that was as thick as four pencils. The point is not the thickness but the timing. Asparagus tastes best when they are just picked. You want to minimize the time between picking and eating. The best way is growing your own patch (join Shannon, Chelsea, and me in starting one) and the next best option is the farmer's market. I will be at the market extra early this Saturday morning to procure this seasonal delicacy.
So, who has asparagus? Chris and Ruth of Jubilee Organic Farm comes to my mind. Rick of Summer Creek Farm has an asparagus bed but I am not sure if he is bringing some this Saturday. Scenic View Orchard should have some. Glade-Link Farm is famous for their asparagus but sadly, they don't come to the market till the blueberry season starts.

Photo by Dan
Spring farmer's market won't be complete without lettuce, spinach and radish. Rick says he will have all of these. Nancy of Chesapeake's choice will have spinach. I expect Erland and Rieko of New Hope Farm and Jim of Tomatoes et al. will bring their specialty - gourmet green salad mix. Scenic View Orchards will probably bring the most diverse vegetables along with some apples they have kept in a cold storage. Jubilee Organic Farm will have the spring vegetables and cut herbs.

My friend Sandra and her two friends are visiting this weekend. Dan and I are very excited to have house guests staying with us. We have not decided on our brunch menu for Sunday yet, but our friends will be pretty hungry after running a half marathon and thus we plan to cook a lot of food. Most of the dishes will be made from the produce we pick up on May 2 at the market. The timing is perfect.


smoo said...

I can't wait for the market. Don't give me any credit for my asparagus patch. You saw it.

Yeon said...

Shannon. I added a few words about staring an asparagus patch.

Hope the weather holds up on Saturday for the market. Rain or shine, I am there!