“You’re Not Still Eating Asparagus”

June 16, 2010 at 12:28 pm

Rob Gardner

This Local Family’s quest to eat asparagus after asparagus hardly captured the imagination as say, one man’s quest to eat just pizza.  Perhaps, the Forest Gumpian plethora of asparagus options lessened the wow factor.  Raw and cooked.  Butter or oil.  Thick sauce or thin with thin spears or thick spears.  There might not be many vegetables besides asparagus to eat in the Spring, but there are a lot of ways to eat your asparagus in the Spring.  The Local Family went twenty plus days with an asparagus dish in da house.  Granted, not every member ate ever asparagus plate.  Then it ended.  It ended with asparagus in the bin.  It ended, I think with some asparagus leftover on a shelf.  Mom, who probably carried the biggest aspara-load, taking more than a few cartons of leftover asparagus to work for lunch, showed the most resistance to more asparagus.  She who decreed the Eat Local Asparagus Challenge in the first place, said uncle.  Could we complain.  The day after ending the Challenge, we had asparagus on the grill.

We had asparagus last night too.  Asparagus risotto, a repeat of Day 7.  We still find plenty of asparagus in the market,so it is going to be a component of our local meals.  We do find other vegetables now.  When my wife whips up a June risotto, it includes asparagus and peas (and a couple of garlic scapes too).  We are not throwing away asparagus, but we are not committed to it either.  The day before, our pasta had no asparagus, only peas.

We are not committed to a CSA this season either.  Which means that each week we get to make our own kitchen choices.  No more stir fry on the menu because there was too much baby bok choi.  Yet, maybe it was some form of guilt towards Farmer Vicki.  At the Oak Park Farmer’s Market last Saturday, what did we buy.  Kohlrabi.  I was not sure anyone ever willingly purchased kohlrabi, but I answered my own question.  It was not, after all, asparagus.  And not too expensive, and a better bargain ’cause the bulbs (not roots, but enlarged stems) as well as the leaves are edible.  And storable.  As noted the other day, there is nothing you can do better with a kohlrabi than save it for a later day.  When the time comes, we might roast it.  Mash it.  Grate it.  Don’t ignore your kohlrabi.

If asparagus was the dinner of choice, the lunch of choice for the local kids for the last several weeks of school was early season radishes.  If radishes appear in the lunches now, they do not dominate as we got our first sugar snaps of the year this week.  We also got our first carrots of the year, although we have not touched them yet.  My wife is threatening stock.

The veg choices expand.  The fruit section is just getting going.  Man, there was a period where we struggled with fruit.  Asparagus have nothing on all the local apples we ate.  Our seasonal exception of citrus also ran its course.  We made good use of the earliest rhubarb, except a glop of compote did not go so well in the school lunches.  We are not bored with our strawberries, finding especially good ones this year from Walt Skibbes at Oak Park.  We found especially good, the first cherries last week from Hardin Farms at Oak Park.

We’ll have to get a few more asparagus spears under our belt.  Summer starts next week.