We have been seeing wild asparagus (and the pickers thereof) for a few weeks now. This asparagus is well hidden behind incredibly thorny plants, and it’s the hardy picker who dons gloves to collect it.
One such picker is our friend Manuel. He knows where every asparagus-hiding plant is on his land, and collects it to take home for cooking or freezing. One lucky evening, he gave us a bunch of it (which we even escaped cutting!). It was delicious cooked in an omelet with chopped onion and Spanish ham.
Of course, others know about this wild asparagus, too, and you often see unscrupulous asparagus rustlers on other people’s land, cutting away with abandon. We always hope they end up with fingers well-poked by thorns for their trouble!
We have our own asparagus bed. I planted seed in the cold frame several years ago, and have been carefully nurturing the little plants in the custom-built asparagus bed ever since. We cut quite a bit last year, but are hoping for our first real bumper crop this year – hopefully enough to freeze for the winter! Our asparagus is lovely and tender – though the wild variety has a lovely taste, you can really only eat the tips, as the stalks are very woody.
Here is a picture of our first gorgeous asparagus tips. (yes, I do see the weed!)