June is always a busy month on the farm. After getting most of the crops planted into the fields we move on to the spring harvest. Asparagus season usually starts in early May and lasts for 6-8 weeks, depending on the weather. Heading to the asparagus field in the early morning is such a peaceful job. The sun is just beginning to rise in the East and there is often a nice cool breeze. During the warm spring days asparagus can grow up to 25 cm per day so sometimes we need to go through the asparagus patch twice.
Asparagus is a perennial plant and once established maturity, it will grow back again and again. If taken care of, some asparagus patches will produce for decades. Harvesting asparagus is a simple, yet labour intensive job. No fancy tools or machinery are needed as asparagus is completely hand-harvested. When the asparagus spear is about 20-25 cm long it is snapped off at the base and collected in a basket. Afterward, the asparagus taken to the shed where it is cooled down and then graded, bunched, and packed for market.
Eating asparagus can provide you with several health benefits. In addition to being low in calories and high in fiber, asparagus contains folate and vitamins A, C and K, and is a rich source of antioxidants. Research suggests that eating asparagus can help with bloating, lower blood pressure, and even act as a mood booster. When preparing asparagus, remember simple is best – do not overcook. Simply bend the bottom of the asparagus spear to snap off the woody bottom, then wash well and sauté, roast, or grill with a little olive oil and some freshly cracked salt and pepper.
At the farm, we try to limit waste in every way possible. When we harvest curved or short asparagus spears we save them to roast and make asparagus soup. We also pickle about 25 dozen cases of asparagus each spring. This allows us to enjoy the delicious vegetable all year long! Stop by Lennox Farm Market to pick up some fresh asparagus throughout the month of June.