Amazing asparagus

amazing-asparagus-blue-plate

I had never tasted asparagus so tender and young before. Out of this world.

Asparagus in the UK has a short season from May to mid-June.

Well, it used to.  The season now starts  in April in the UK. When a fellow food blogger bought hers last week, I was surprised – that’s climate change for you.

In supermarket-land, they appear all year long, spears the regulation length, lined up in rows in small plastic boxes. They look pretty – and are pretty tasteless.

The supermarkets now race to get seasonal British-born asparagus on their shelves.

Waitrose failed the test yesterday according to my mum, the queen of real food lovers. Shocked by its offering of Peruvian asparagus, my 80+ mum made a special trip to Marks & Spencers for the British kind. (Reader, thus is my provenance).

It’s not that I am jingo-istic, set against Johnnie-foreigner.

Nooooo, hardly. a) I believe in a world without borders b) I am of foreign-blood myself.

My love of seasonal stems from common sense. Eating food grown as near to where I live tastes fresher. Looking at the bigger picture, my spears’  journey-to-market is less polluting too.

My asparagus came 10 minutes away by foot thanks to the local organic grower setting up stall in the self-build eco-houses at St. Werburgh’s every Thursday afternoon until 6.30pm.

Mike is going to check the name of the grower for us next week. We hope to find out more how it was grown, as growing it organically is supposed to be hard.

He barely steamed the young spears then latticed them over fried brown rice, chilli and mushrooms (above).

We love brown rice but let’s face it, that’s hardly local.

So, Little Englander or bigger picture and more taste? Why do you like local food?

Stop press: Wrington Greens sell their fresh organic veg every Thursday 4.30-6.30pm at the Self-Build homes at Ashley Vale, St. Werburgh’s – please buy if you like to be wowed…

wrington-green-notice-at-st-werburghs

12 responses to “Amazing asparagus

  1. I had aspargus last week while staying in Broadway. It was the best I have ever had and even better because it was ‘Pauline’s Veg’ which is infamous round those parts. It is a tiny cart on the side of a deserted country road which sells locally produced veg. There is no one selling it, you just make an honest contribution and leave it in the pot. It is always a nice surprise to see what is on offer and in my experience it has always been delicious. I have never seen the legendary Pauline and I like to think of her as some sort of organic goddess! I don’t think this scheme would work in London somehow…..

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  2. Thanks, Holly, and I love the idea of an honesty box. I came across a similar arrangement in the Tamar Valley in Cornwall for freshly grown veg.

    O, if only we lived in a honest world, it would make life so much simpler I am sure.

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  3. I must just add this link to a Times article which analyses what makes British asparagus so good: slow growth and temperate climes – makes sense.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/food_and_drink/article6156221.ece

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  4. I was the humble foot that bought the asparagus 10 minute away except that I had to walk about an hour at brisk pace to get back before they closed.

    Then I humbly cooked the food, using my time honoured method of buying the best food you can afford and not knacking it about (cook simply), most tasty!

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  5. I am glad you claimed your rightful credit as chef and shopper. And a treat for me to be neither!

    But it took an hour because you were walking back from Purdown, right? The Wrington Greens stall on a Thursday is only 10 minutes away from Ashley Down Road/Hopetoun Road/.

    It’s a good idea for organic growers to set up a temporary shop like that…

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  6. Adore asparagus, shame it has such a short season, eh?
    Thanks for visiting my blog. Liked your comment about me having grooovesome parents, made me laugh. They weren’t groooovesome really, a bit art college-y, I guess, and my mum always liked to feed me healthily.
    I cook my brown rice in the microwave. It’s all I cook in the microwave really as like you said, it’s not that good for you. However, it takes only 18 minutes so well worth it. My procedure is to put 150g brown rice in a glass-lided dish. Cover in 500ml cold water and microwave for 18 minutes on full power. When it’s done it’s fluffy and perfectly cooked. No salt needed. Heaven.

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  7. Hi RealFoodLover
    I am up for a blogging award. Will you vote for me? It’s at http://www.dorsetcereals.co.uk/little-blog-awards/nomination/247
    My blog is meetandtwoveg
    Thanks! Really appreciate it!
    Emily

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  8. I have voted! Keep me posted!

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  9. Well it is nice to know someone thinks I have some expertise…….erm but I am not that expert I am afraid….. I am an asparagus novice! We do have a brand new asparagus bed up at castle farm…..I helped to dig it (groan) ………aspargus like a deep well fertilized bed without rocks…..and I remember it was back aching work digging away at the end of last summer and into the winter….we sifted, riddled, and picked out rocks and turned in heaps of compost and generally fluffed up a bed that the royal asparagus would be proud of….no peas ….this one was comfy………most people say that it takes a good 2 years to establish aspargus……but we have already produced a few weedy looking stems……erm…. 3 to be precise…. gangly adolescent asparaguses I suppose you’d call them ……but I can’t tell you what they tasted like because as there were only 3 Eileen got to sample them first as she was the one who planted them.
    I did however buy some really stout aspargus from a specialist grower near Boston yesterday….hum…… the classic middle aged woman shaped asparagus of the species…. ……well I’d spent a few days up in deepest rural Lincolnshire where I went to a spring fair at a terribly posh country manor house and they had stalls with just about everything native to england….the cheese stall was just mind blowing and I bought a wonderful boiled fig confection specially designed to go with cheese it was wrapped in a fig leaf … it was one of those sort of places where you look decidedly out of place if you aren’t wearing a gilet and brogues……..(I suppose I must’ve gatecrashed truth beknown)…..but hey I wasn’t daunted by the ‘Born to the Manor’ ethos and horsey set duvers..(hors derves)……darling the smoked trout pate ones were to die for……I spent a fun afternoon rubbing my rif raf shoulders with those of another class……and came home with aspargus and a goats cheese called ‘Rachel’ of all things…according to the cheese vendor he’d named it after his girlfriend…..classy eh having a smelly cheese named after you!

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  10. Sarah Beattie

    Here in France we’ve been enjoying new season asparagus for a good six weeks but we have to search to find the green as our Continental cousins often prefer the forced fat white or violet.
    The very thin sprue are delicious tossed in at the end of egg-rich spaghetti’s cooking period. Then melt butter in a skillet, add crushed garlic, the rind and juice of a fragrant lemon, lots of freshly ground black pepper and 2 egg yolks. Mix well over a low heat (don’t scramble the egg!), stir in the pasta and asparagus and serve with lots of Twineham Grange grana or parmesan.

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  11. realfoodlover

    Wrington Greens organic farms sell their local and freshly harvested produce at:

    Whiteladies Rd, Bristol BS6 farmer’s market
    First Fri and third Sat of every month 8.30-1.30pm

    Corn St/Wine St, Bristol BS1 farmer’s market
    Every Wed 9-2pm

    Every Wed 4.30-6.30pm
    Clevedon Terrace, Kingsdown, Bristol

    Every Thurs 4-6.30pm
    The Yard, St Werburgh’s.

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