Last Bite

Head Start on Spring with Fresh Asparagus

By Andrea Bosco Stehle / Photography By Michael Fornataro | April 01, 2015
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Asparagus
Visit edibleallegheny.com for a recipe from Giant Eagle Market District Chef Crystal Baldwin for Minted Asparagus!

Asparagus is one of those beautiful, seasonal vegetables that screams spring. Its delicate flavor can be deliciously enhanced with a drizzle of olive oil, a dash of sea salt, and a spritz of lemon juice.

A cousin of onion and garlic, the slender spears thrive in warm and wet climates, and crop up most plentifully in April and May. It’s said the herbaceous vegetable dates back to 3000 BC, where it was used for its diuretic properties and to combat fatigue. Today, it’s common for asparagus to be served sautéed with a protein of mild sweetness, such as seared scallops, herb-crusted lamb, or beef and a Bearnaise sauce.

Trax Farms starts the growth of its tender stocks as seeds in the greenhouse. “It turns into a small fern,” says Bob Trax. “We plant the root into the ground with its head sticking out once it’s 18 inches long.” For home gardeners, he suggests letting the plant go for at least a year or two before harvesting. “If you pick the sprouts, you harm the roots.” Yearly, Trax Farms Market sells several thousand pounds of the nutrient-packed produce — some varieties homegrown, some from California and the Carolinas. The business operates its hayrides with a stop to see the asparagus patch, “a show-and-tell piece,” says Trax. If you’d like the perennial to show in your garden, Trax says to remember to “let them grow!”

Trax Farms, 528 Trax Road, Finleyville. 412.835.3246. traxfarms.com.

Article from Edible Allegheny at http://edibleallegheny.ediblecommunities.com/recipes/head-start-spring-fresh-asparagus
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