Late spring at Pastini brings a special treat and one of our region’s true delicacies…delicious local asparagus from just over the border in Washington. Most of it is grown on 100 family farms near Pasco, like Snow & Sons, who provide our gorgeous green spears.
Savor it in dishes like Fusilli with Asparagus and Lemon Cream, Grilled Asparagus Salad, the Farmstand Chicken Cobb Salad or a simple side of grilled asparagus with olive oil, garlic and fresh parmesan to accompany your favorite pasta.
While we are now used to seeing fresh asparagus much of the year, it is a true treat each spring to eat the local variety grown in our own region. Over 5,000 acres are now under cultivation on those family farms I mentioned, in the fertile area within 60 miles of Pasco, WA.
The scientific name is Asparagus officinalis, and its young shoots are what we love as a spring vegetable. If left to flower, asparagus shoots bloom into feathery, fern-like plants.
And yes, an asparagus spear can grow 7 to 9 inches per day! The warmer the weather, the faster it grows. However this means that asparagus must be cut every day, and it’s all done by hand. It takes one worker for every two acres to keep up with the harvest, and a healthy field can produce over 10,000 pounds per acre in a season.
We love the bold, slightly grassy flavor of fresh asparagus that mellows and sweetens with cooking, whether grilled, roasted or sautéed. Not only is it wonderful in salads, we think it’s perfect with pasta, like our Fusilli with Asparagus and Lemon Cream Sauce.
Some other fun facts: You may be surprised to learn that the asparagus family includes both common garden plants as well as common houseplants. The garden plants include asparagus, hostas, and bluebells, and houseplants include spider plants and plumosus fern. And asparagus is one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables, including potassium, fiber, folic acid and vitamin B6, with only 20 calories in every five spears.
Join us soon and taste the bounty of the Northwest during asparagus season this year.