It’s easy to forget about asparagus’ seasonality because it’s available year-round. But local asparagus has a freshness unlike that available in November. There is nothing better than seeing the first piles of these beautiful vegetables at the local market. Trees are in blossom. Spring is here.
Asparagus has been known as a sign of spring since the time of Imperial Rome. The word “asparagus” comes from the Greek “asparagos,” meaning “to spring up.” The ancient Greeks used the term to refer to any tender shoots picked from the spring earth and savored when still young.
When shopping for asparagus, choose stalks that are firm but not hard. As with artichokes, you should look carefully at the leaves that form at the head. The most succulent asparagus will have tightly closed tips that are purplish in color.
For the millennia, humans have devised technologies that make it easier to bring goods and services, produce included, from across the country and the world. It’s time to reverse that trend. Produce should start coming from local sources rather than from far away.
In big cities, that may mean looking up. Hydroponic rooftop greenhouses on top of city buildings will revive the notion of local food. production in urban centers. Shortening the supply chain will shrink our carbon footprint and better our produce.
Asparagus can be blanched, grilled or steamed, and served simply with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. But this citrus-walnut pesto adds a delicious zing.