First the sweet talk, then we’ll get into the Asparagus.
The FarmGirl Cooks… after she washes her hands 😉
Last Sunday was Mother’s Day, and since that pretty much defines me as a person, I should make note of it.
Sure, it’s been a while… but forgive me, please. Mother’s Day happens to fall smack dab in the middle of busy planting season and, except for the lovingly handmade gifts from my son, the day went by without much fanfare. The fruit of my womb bought me a fan with his own hard-earned money the last time his dad took him to Chinatown. He thinks it may help with the hot flashes. Way to be considerate, my sweet nugget of love!
I don’t think I was ‘born’ a mom. In fact, for the longest time I didn’t even want to BE a mom… EVER. I went so far as to keep a newspaper clipping in my wallet, the article listing reasons why people don’t want children and how they should respond to those who question them.
Who would’ve guessed I’d end up becoming ‘that mom’?
I’m the mom who wakes up and cooks her baby a hot breakfast nearly every morning (homemade crepes with nutella are his favorite), then makes him a healthy-ish lunch that often includes a homemade sweet treat and on occasion, a love note from Mommy.
I’m the mom who serves candlelit dinners with Fresca in champagne flutes when I know my sweet boy has had a rough day. I’m the mom who listens to his fears and wipes his tears, then tells him (in the nicest possible way) to suck it up and move on. Such is life… and it ain’t easy for any of us.
He’s the driving force behind everything I do, but that doesn’ t mean I coddle him. In fact, I’ve been told I’m a real ‘hard ass’ mom. I’m ok with that. I remind Thomas after we’ve ‘had words’ that my job is to raise a healthy, responsible, hard-working and self-reliant adult. I’d LOVE for him to be happy as well, and I’ll do my part to help, but mostly, that is up to him.
We’ve gotten to the point where he doesn’t want me anywhere near him when he gets on the school bus. Funny as hell, The Boy walks 50 ft away from me as the bus nears our stop in the morning. Prior to that though, when no one is watching and we’re walking to the bus stop, arms swinging gently, our hands will magically find one another as if by magnetic force.
No discussion is necessary, just the familiar, loving, secure hand-holding that we’ve both come to love so much.
You know how kids have growth spurts and seem to shoot up inches overnight?
We all know that’s an exaggeration. But for asparagus, it’s absolutely possible for this tender stalk to grow several inches over the course of a day.
Asparagus, that classic spring vegetable, is an investment that will repay you over and over if you give it some time. It takes a few years to really develop a decent crop, though.
The asparagus crowns/roots look like a dirty brown scraggly octopus. They are planted in a trench about 12-inches deep atop a small mound of dirt. You want the crown just sticking out of the ground (“crowning”, if you will***) and the ‘tentacles’ need to trail down the mound. The trench is filled in and as the crown grows, you cover it up with more soil. Within a few years, you’ll have an abundance of stalks to cut almost daily.
When the weather starts to warm, the robins flit around scoping out the heartiest earthworms and the springtime sun surprises you by hanging around past dinner, you’ll see the purple tips peeking out of the asparagus bed. They almost look like little artichokes at first, but soon the green stem lengthens.
Another one pops out of the ground, then another and another, until finally you have a forest of stalks and enough asparagus for your family to indulge day after day. Eventually you’ll tire of it, but you’ll still eat it like mad because you know that the final cutting will soon occur and you’ll be at nature’s mercy yet again.
You can rest assured that as delicious as asparagus is, it’s also nutritious. A serving of it will give you almost half the recommended daily intake of folic acid (essential for baby development, women’s health, etc).
Options abound when it comes to preparing asparagus. Grill, roast, steam, saute…. EVOO, salt and pepper are all you need to make this veggie sing. It’s terrific with pasta, with eggs, in risotto, with mushrooms or crepes (hello, ham and cheese… meet asparagus) or even raw in a slaw.
I cut 8 spears the other day from the patch behind Mom’s house. By the time I made it through the barn, checked and watered two greenhouses and slipped off my dirty farm shoes by the back door, I had eaten all 8 spears raw… So much for any dinner plan!
But that’s ok, since tomorrow (and the day after and the day after that…) there will be more. And if I happen to miss a day of cutting, I can be certain I’ll find a repurposed yellow plastic Shop Rite bag with a handful of spears hanging from the back door.