Thursday, April 28, 2011

Signs of Spring--Robins and Asparagus

Our rain continues to fall.  The temperature hovers in the high 40s.  The weather is creating problems for farmers.  Those who grow corn and soybeans--big crops in the midwest--have yet to plant the fields.  I  realize it could be much worse.  It's distressing to see those lower mid-west folks looking on as their homes are covered with water.  Tornadoes continue to devastate so many areas.

I drove down to my favorite farm for flowers and vegetables (a farm that participates in the farmers' market here in town) last Monday.  It's about a forty-mile roundtrip--a pleasant drive on two-lane country roads.  I was on a mission to drop off some pots and baskets for planting and to pick up fresh asparagus--that eagerly awaited green spear of spring.  It was pouring rain when I set out and I almost turned back.  The car was loaded with the containers and I was hungry for asparagus.  The closer I got to LE Gardens, the bigger puddles I saw in the fields.  When I pulled up to the greenhouses, I could see the beautiful array of colorful plants inside.  I didn't see much color in the fields.

Inside, Linda and her crew were busily potting flowers and herbs for the official opening today.  I handed over my containers and gave her instructions for the planting of one basket.  Alas, I saw no asparagus and I was hoping to bring home enough for breakfast, lunch, dinner and asparagus pesto for the freezer.   Her husband noticed my forlorn look and said "I'm going to check on some asparagus for you".  Off he went while I strolled up and down the main greenhouse and got into a warmer mood

Ron was gone for quite awhile.  He finally returned toting a big bucket containing a little asparagus.  The spears were purple.  Purple?  Ron and Linda said they'd never seen purple asparagus.  As any good farmer would say, "must be the weather".

The asparagus was purpler than my photo shows.  My dilemma:  Should I quietly steam it and eat it without saying a word to Andrew?  I did make the trip in the rain.  It certainly wasn't enough to share--well, maybe as an appetizer??

My conscience got the better of me.  I steamed the asparagus and dressed it with a little olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground pepper.  I shared it with Andrew (Oliver even got one tiny spear) and knew I had done the right thing.

As you can see, it turned a normal green when steamed.