Asparagus diva among the seasonal vegetables Every second Thursday in April the official asparagus season starts with asparagus from Dutch soil. Officially, because before then there are already enough white asparagus to be found in the store. Nevertheless, we like to stick to the charm of the seasonal product. It makes asparagus extra special and special… That’s like a little extra party!
Asparagus is the root foothills of the perennial asparagus plant. In the spring, at a ground temperature above 10 degrees, the buds on the stems extend to… The asparage! That 10 degrees is the starting point, some growers make grateful use of that by working with heated asparage beds. A matter of an underground hot water circuit. Asparagus grows on chalky sandy soils where she claims the exclusive right as a true diva. It only grows on land where asparagus has never stood before.
The Dutch asparage cultivation runs until 24 June (St. John) After which the plant may rest and add spare food for the run-out the following year. This is not going to happen indefinitely, by the way. After about 12 years of stabbing, asparagerous fatigue occurs. The farmer has to start with new plants on a new piece of land. Asparagus diva among seasonal vegetables.
Whether he chooses the same breed remains to be seen. Asperver breeders work on ever better varieties with increased disease resistance, taste improvement and economic objectives (read higher yields at less cost) The breeding of asparagus starts with the selection of suitable parent lines. In laboratories, crosses are performed manually. This is a patient job. In the search for ultimate aspara reference varieties, there are hundreds of crossings every year. In this survival of the fit test, only the best newbies are grown. After a few years of ‘trialling’ in the asparagi breeder’s lab and undergoing taste tests, the best varieties are allowed to go to growers, where they enter the next test phase.
The stakes are plants that develop foliage that can withstand disease so that farmers have to use pesticides less. After 10 to 12 years of testing – yes, you read it correctly – the varieties with a thick enough on the final report may continue their way towards the consumer market. Before that happens, there must be enough plants. These are grown in greenhouses that are hermetically sealed off from the outside world to prevent pollination with varieties from outside. The help of bees is enlisted in this, which must indeed remain indoors. But why miss out on the outside world with so many goodies close by?
After flowering, the foliage of the asparagus plants creates bright red berries the size of cherries.
A beautiful sight! The berries are partly machined and partly processed manually so that the seeds can be harvested. After drying, a selection follows on pure skin and a random test is carried out to see if the seeds want to germinate properly. Before they are sent out into the world on their way to growers, the seeds are still coated with a antifungal coating. One year after sowing, the asparagus plants are harvested by the growers and taken to processing plants where they are carefully selected for quality. A quality stands for plants weighing more than 70 grams. A B-tje is for plants weighing between 40 and 70 grams. The plants are packed and kept dry and frost-free until the next step in their lives: the farmer’s field.
The farmer who has asparagus planting can harvest for the first time after a year. This is the most labor-intensive part of the process. Pickers walk by with a basket and a cutting plant for plant and search the ground for ready-to-stab asparagus. The road to the consumer is now almost gone. Sort by quality and size, washing and packaging. From the first hand crossing at the breeding company to once on the board is 17 years. Every reason to give asparagus in the kitchen and at the table all the attention they deserve!
KEUKENvuur asparage workshop
Good cooking with asparagus! At KEUKENvuur, a 3 course menu around asparagus is on the menu. Of course you’ll get to work! We make classic preparations, but in a hip way. Like the asparage itself: timeless, always different but always a party! Fancy asparagus diva among seasonal vegetables as workshops? Now drive in for our asparage workshop. More information about the workshop cooking with asparagus.
Working at home with the white gold? Click on the link for Dutch asparagus with goat brie bacon and sourdough.