Wait for local Ontario asparagus is over!

It’s become almost like an unofficial kick off to summer, sort of like our Victoria Day long weekend – an early anticipated milestone that marks the start of warm, sunny days. For me, that’s asparagus season.

Asparagus is one of the first crops of the new growing year that hits the market for consumption. Here in Ontario, that’s usually sometime in May.

This year, I managed to score my first couple of bunches early last week – the store that had them sold out pretty quickly as demand was high and supply still rather limited as the crop was only just starting to be ready for market.

My first bundle ended up on the barbecue – drizzled with olive oil, grilled and sprinkled with salt and pepper. Delicious! The second went into a tasty mushroom and asparagus risotto, whose recipe I found on the Foodland Ontario website.

Curious about how asparagus gets from the field to your plate?

Asparagus is a perennial, which means it will grow without having to be planted every year. One of the most popular asparagus varieties in Ontario is Millennium, which was developed at the University of Guelph.

Millennium was first introduced in Ontario in 1996 and is a high-quality hybrid that is particularly known for its ability to produce a lot of aspargus over many years, something not typical of other varieties on the market. It was winner of the Canadian Seed of the Year award in 2005.

The spindly stalk growing in the field is handpicked, then washed, sorted and bundled before making its way into stores, as you can see in the photos at the end of this post.

Here are other posts I’ve written about asparagus on this blog:

And if you’re curious to learn more about asparagus growing and harvesting, visit www.virtualfarmtours.ca and click on the link for vegetable farm.

Cutting asparagus in the field
Ready for washing and sorting
Washed and bundled
Filling boxes for shipping
In the store

 

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