A Spare Gus
It is finally THAT time of the year, ASPARAGUS is up!
As a child we had a lot of acres of it and had to pick it all ourselves. Sometimes we had to get up at 4 am to get some picked before school (and then consequently missed the bus and had to walk to school,
uphill both ways, in the snow, barefoot) 🙂 But really, depending on which school it was 2 to 6 miles.
I hated asparagus as a child.
Now, I love everything about it. It is delicious, healthy, and beautiful. Also, it is fun to grow.
When we moved to our current location 3 years ago, I dug up some that I had planted at our previous place and a friend gave me some they were planting that spring on their farm. At age 3 the stalks are coming up fat and happy.
I thought I would include a little tutorial.
In case you didn’t know, when planting young asparagus roots, you don’t pick the little stalks that come up the next year. The second year you can take a couple of early pickings. The third year and after you can pick the whole season. My season cut-off date is June 20.
After June 20 I let the stalks (which are actually sprouts) grow into mature plants. A mature plant is about 6 feet tall and is graced with flowing ferning branches.
They enjoy a 10-10-10 or 15-15-15 for fertilizer. They prefer a light sandy soil and their roots grow large and deep. Fertilize when the soil starts warming, usually some time in April. I fertilize again when I stop picking.
If you want to plant a few crowns (roots) for yourself get on over to Tri-County Feeds in Montague as they are selling baby asparagus roots.
P.S. White asparagus is just green asparagus that never saw the sun or other nurturing light. Purple asparagus is a real line of plants. Its color comes from the high levels of anthocyanins in the spears.
Every June, go to Michigan’s Oceana County and enjoy the National Asparagus Festival. It is a fun, quirky festival. The mascot of the festival used to be (guess who?) Gus (as in A Spare Gus)
See bottom for an easy roasted asparagus recipe.
I’ve slightly changed our grab n go foods menu. Each menu will run for two weeks, rather than one. You can also order online through our shop. Of course, cash is welcome, as is venmo, zelle, paypal. There is a sign on the wall above the grab n go refrigerator describing the pay options. Ordering ahead is recommended to ensure you get what you want, but there are usually extras made and placed in front refrigerator for pick-up 24-7. However, there are no guarantees that everything on the menu will be present if you randomly stop in for something. There is always bread, mustard, and cookies. Jams are coming soon. Always check the menu dates at the bottom. Here is the current menu (and below that, the menu that starts May 30):
- 1 baking sheet greased
- 1 lb asparagus get the fresh, thick stuff, the size of your thumb or more. If it came from more than 2 states away, skip it. You want fresh in-season stalks.
- 3 tbsp oil or fat I prefer bacon grease, followed by butter & then olive oil if I don't have bacon drippings.
- 1/4 t garlic powder
- 1 t salt
- 1/4 t black pepper or to taste. You can adjust after roasting.
- 2 tbsp parmesan cheese, small hole shredded if you must, use the pre-grated canister, but it is so much better shredded from a block of the real cheese.
- 2 eggs, poached super optional, yet super delicious. See notes for how to poach.
- 1/2 lemon, squeezed
- 1 pinch paprika optional, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 425F
- Wash and trim the asparagus. To trim: break the cut/broken end by hand. It will naturally break where the tough butt ends.
- Whisk the oil/fat, salt, pepper, garlic powder together in a small bowl.
- Lay the washed, trimmed spears on the prepared baking sheet.
- Rub the whisked mixture onto the stalks.
- Bake at 425 for 10-15 minutes. The time will vary by the thickness of the asparagus. It should be easily cut but not mushy and slightly browned.
- Remove from oven and plate. Sprinkle cheese & lemon juice over.
- Optional: top with a 4-minute poached egg, cut in half at the moment of serving.