You may have heard that asparagus is now popping up on our local farms. Charlotte Fresh is ever so happy! There is nothing like fresh asparagus.
Domestically, California, Michigan, Washington and oddly, New Jersey dominate the commercial market (who knew?). But product grown in those states travels far to get to the Carolinas. Additionally, the stuff trucked in from places like Peru (the largest asparagus exporter since 2007, ahead of Mexico and China) can’t compare in flavor to what is locally grown and fresh picked. (Incidentally, Peru is producing and exporting so much asparagus – especially to the U.K. – that the water supply in the Ica Valley is running so dry it is an emergency situation.)
Get in line early tomorrow to snag some of the good local stuff. Hubby got some from Laughing Owl Farm last week, and it was superb. Toss it in olive oil, salt and pepper; put it on the grill for a couple of minutes and you will have a great side dish. Or, try my omelette recipe below, inspired by Natalie of Grateful Growers Farm.
Here are some farms that are expected to have asparagus on Saturday (as of post time, I have not found out about supply at Atherton):
- Barbee Farms (Davidson)
- Carlea Farms (Matthews)
- Fisher Farms (Matthews)
- Laughing Owl Farm (Matthews & Regional)
- New Town Farms (Matthews)
- Nut Hill Farm (Matthews)
- Twin Oaks Farm (Davidson)
Some info on asparagus:
- It comes in different varieties and colors – you can find green, purple and white. Purple varieties are becoming increasingly popular.
- White asparagus is produced via a process called blanching. Usually, extra soil is heaped over the beds, and the shoots are harvested at night or in early morning before sunlight exposure triggers green chlorophyll production. Nowadays there are dark fabric covers that can do the same trick as heaped dirt. (When growing in your home garden, unless you have a lot of patience and don’t need sleep, just keep it simple – eat it green.)
- Asparagus grows from crowns that take a few years to develop. Once established, an asparagus bed can last up to 20+ years. (Hubby knows this well since his family had a patch when he was a kid.)
- Asparagus shoots are pretty much the earliest spring vegetable to pop out of the ground and will last for a couple of months if the fields are harvested frequently and the newly emerging shoots are picked as soon as they appear. Once spring picking is over, foliage develops during summer/fall allowing a tall and bushy plant to store energy within the buried crowns for subsequent harvests.
Fresh Recipe: Asparagus and Dry Cured Ham Omelette
- 3 large eggs (I use Hinson Farms)
- 2 Tbs very cold water
- 1-2 pieces of Thinly Sliced Dry Cured Ham (I use Grateful Growers Farm)
- 2 oz. goat cheese (I use Bosky Acres)
- 3 stalks asparagus, chopped (I used Laughing Owl Farm)
- salt & pepper
- unsalted butter
Whisk eggs in a bowl and add 2 Tbs cold water as you are whisking. This will make the eggs light and fluffy. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
Melt 1 Tbs butter in a non-stick pan and saute the asparagus for about 1 minute. Remove from pan.
Add more butter to pan if needed. While pan is medium-hot, whisk the eggs in the bowl as you pour them into the pan. Let the eggs cook for a minute or two until they begin to set; turn down the heat if they start to brown on the bottom too quickly.
Lay 1-2 pieces of thinly sliced dry cured ham on one side of the omelette. Add goat cheese and asparagus on top. When the eggs are almost set, fold the plain egg side over the layered side. Cook slightly more until eggs are not runny. Serve and enjoy with a hunk of your favorite bread.