Local asparagus!

It’s here! We have sweet spears of asparagus from Thorpe’s Organic Family Farm in East Aurora.

Asparagus fun facts

Thank you, Rome. Like many vegetables, the spread of asparagus can be traced back to the ancient Romans and writings from the 1st century AD described asparagus as being “three to the pound” because the spears were so fat. The debate over whether fat or thin spears are preferable continues to this day.

Albino asparagus? In Germany, France and Belgium, fat white asparagus has long been preferred—the most prized spears are a little over an inch thick! How do they keep it white? Growers pile dirt on the emerging spears to keep them from exposure to the sun. This is labor intensive, so white asparagus is always more expensive. The lack of color (and some would say, flavor) of white asparagus is also a sign of fewer nutrients, as it doesn’t get to concentrate all the antioxidant pigments that it would growing in the sun.

It’s good for us! Both white and green asparagus are rich in folic acid, with a 5.3 ounce serving providing 60% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA). Folic acid is important for the liver and to prevent neural tube defects in babies in the womb and studies show that it keeps our brains healthy as we age. Asparagus is also a good source of potassium, with 400 mg per serving.

Try it!

Mark Bittman’s Guide to Asparagus

Simple Roasted Asparagus

Asparagus Gremolata with Orzo