Europeans of the Renaissance swore by it as an aphrodisiac, and the church banned it from nunneries.”
― Barbara Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life
I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingslover a few years back and I remember reading one of her first chapters about one of the first spring vegetables, asparagus. I sat on a park bench with my book as my kids played on a tiny neighborhood park down my street and I read, with delighted child-like wonder about these little shoots. They squealed with free limbed freedom and I flipped pages, all quite equally happy.
In March, asparagus is working, behind the scenes under the dirt. In April, the vigilance must begin. Kingslover states, "An asparagus spear only looks like it's picture for one day of its life...The shoot emerges from the ground like a snub-nosed green snake headed for sunshine, rising so rapidly you can just about see it grow." She goes on to say that if you don't cut it at ground level at this precise point of it's rapid emerging, it will continue on to grow, with each scale on the delicate spear growing on into a branch until it's a four-foot tree with needles resembling a dwarf Christmas tree.
Her chapter on the asparagus was a literary delight. Two of my favorite things, food and words, combined to entertain me. But it is also a reminder of how divorced we are from our food supply. We can get asparagus all year round. It comes to us no matter where we are. But if you grow them, or go to a farmers market for them, you have that one golden opportunity in early spring, then you might as well move on to thinking about Christmas because they're done.