Spring for Asparagus!
The coyote crouched silently, pausing before placing the next paw. Despite its careful approach, the shifting wind carried her scent forward, startling the sleeping squirrel. It scampered up the Oak and out of reach. Disappointed, the animal straightened up, and in doing so, saw Annie sitting on the other side of the garden. They looked at each other, both more curious than frightened.
“You sure are beautiful,” thought Annie. “Now I know why that squirrel was moving so fast.”
After a few minutes of a friendly stare-down, the coyote turned and trotted down the hill. Annie continued her meditation. She enjoyed the early morning quiet in a spot at the garden’s end furthest from the house and closest to nature. This was the section where she and LJ planted asparagus. Over the past two years, there had been no harvest as it takes three years for the plants to fully mature. Last season they again cut the vegetation down to the soil line to encourage growth in anticipation of the first crop and the many to follow. Their efforts showed promise because now she could see spears beginning to push through. Annie finished meditating and walked into the kitchen.
“I see you had a visitor,” said LJ.
“Yes, my friend appeared to be disappointed that it didn’t have squirrel for breakfast. She probably has new pups to feed. Too bad coyotes don’t like asparagus since ours are coming up. The tips are showing through, so in about four weeks, we can begin harvesting.”
LJ chuckled as he cracked the last egg for an omelet, “I could use some right now, but when it comes to growing asparagus, patience is key. We planted them three years ago. In a few weeks, we should have a crop to enjoy that’s about 8-inches high.”
Annie handed him two plates, “They will be worth the wait, and I am glad asparagus are a perennial crop, meaning once planted, we don’t have to plant again. Get ready, because once they start producing, they can grow lots and lots in a short time.”
“Don’t we have a couple of neighbors who are pregnant? Asparagus is high in fiber and folic acid, which helps prevent birth defects. They are also known for their diuretic properties, which help flush excess fluid and salt from your body. They are a good source of potassium (regulates blood pressure), and vitamins A, B6, and C.”
“Yes, we do, LJ, and I am sure the expectant moms would appreciate our fresh vegetables. Since asparagus is a good source of vitamin E, I like them roasted in olive oil as your body absorbs vitamin E better when it’s eaten with a little healthy fat.”
LJ continued, “I like them in a salad that includes eggs because the combination of fiber and protein leaves me feeling fuller longer. I am all for sharing, and let’s remember we can harvest and blanch some in boiling water, douse in cold water, wrap and freeze, so there’s a fresh supply for months. I love asparagus and want them year-round. I am inspired by the words of the humanitarian/chef and founder of World Central Kitchen, Jose Andres, “Romesco with Asparagus is simple and brilliant.”
Annie and LJ are a fictional couple introduced on the Healthy Healing Eats blog in January 2020. Their storyline promotes healthy eating and earth-friendly practices.
Andrea Breaux is the Founder of Healthy Healing Eats. She writes about food-as-medicine and earth-friendly lifestyle practices. Find her weekly blog, recipes, and products at healthyhealingeats.com.