For two years I drove by a wildered patch of green fenced in by a stone wall and years of stubborn weeds and vines. I didn't stop to think about what lay behind the fence until I took an early-May bike ride out to our local produce stand at Verrill Farm and was invited on a Chef's Collaborative-sponsored tour of some of their fields, including the one behind the stone wall.
What I thought was an abandoned lot actually turned out to be a well-established field of asparagus. We were handed small pronged tools for the quick, frustration-free picking of asparagus. A quick jab with the sharp forked knife was all we needed to harvest the quick-growing spears.
Since then, I always look forward to the brief appearance local asparagus with anticipation and as the first sign of the growing and harvest season to come.
Last week I enjoyed my first local asparagus. It was delicious as always and so much more satisfying than the California-grown organic stuff in my local Whole Foods.
I like my asparagus simple and minimally cooked. A quick roast in the oven with olive oil and garlic, salt and pepper usually does it for me. Yesterday I tossed some with a little sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger, mirin and chili. I prefer eating the spears with my fingers rather than processing them into soup or sauce.
Now when I drive by that patch of green, I always slow to catch a glimpse of the asparagus. I can't tell if it is still there, but I like to think it is. That day of asparagus picking is more enduring than my memory of breakfast this morning.