Midtown Farmers’ Market: Week 4—Asparagus!
By Tom // Posted 24 May, 2009 in: Farmers Market, Minneapolis
The sight of the Midtown Farmers’ Market yesterday morning was a little disappointing; it seemed like there were even fewer vendors than the past two weeks and nary a fresh vegetable to be seen. At least there are always tamales. And then suddenly, as we were settling down with our coffee and tamales to listen to some acoustic guitar covers, Martha spied something out of the corner of her eye:
Asparagus! I left Martha to guard the tamales while I b-lined for the farmer, lest someone swoop in and scoop up the last precious spear while I was breakfasting. The price of foodism is constant vigilance!
The farmer in question really had no need to do any selling—he had the only asparagus in the whole market and I was definitely going to walk away with some, no matter what he said. But this farmer was a wily one and knew how to turn a one pound sale into a two pound sale. As I approached and revealed my interest in asparagus, without saying much he handed me a green, tender shoot and indicated that I should eat it. “Raw?” I asked. He just nodded and I decided that was good enough for me. Raw asparagus is not something I have ever eaten before, but I don’t know why—the flavor was so fresh it was like eating green peas right off of the vine. Ever since becoming more aware of seasonality I eagerly await the arrival of asparagus in the spring, but only after biting into this fresh, green-tasting spear of asparagus did I really get it. You can get asparagus all year round from various states and countries in the supermarket, and it’s generally fine for roasting, but its flavor is completely bland by comparison—an entirely different vegetable. Asparagus at its best—fresh and tender in late spring—is something to get excited about.
Our farmer friend tempered my enthusiasm for eating the stuff raw by warning me that my stomach’s flora probably wouldn’t be able to handle eating a lot of raw asparagus. I’m not sure why this would be true but I took his word for it and have been serving it cooked (in every meal since returning home). But with the thinnest spears in a mug of water on the kitchen table the temptation to reach over and eat one is strong.
This was the first fresh vegetable I have gotten from the Farmers’ Market this season. I will be out of town the next two weekends, but when I get back in June I am excited for the region’s farms to be into full production.