Welcome back, produce patrons! We think it’s safe to say that if you’re reading this, you probably have a soft spot for veggies, just like we do. But there are lots of different kinds out there, especially if you count things like dandelion greens and stinging nettle, which we covered a few posts ago.
Whether you’re new to fresh eating or have years of experience, there’s always more to learn about the food our planet gives us. Today we thought we’d highlight two of the crops we grow on our farm: asparagus and rhubarb. To many people, these are a little less familiar than common vegetables like carrots and celery. But that doesn’t make them any less wonderful!
Asparagus has been grown as a crop for a long time—and we mean a long time. It appears in Egyptian artwork dating to 3000 B.C.! Over time, it spread to various parts of Europe and Asia, and then, eventually, North America. Now it’s easy to find in most supermarkets (or small farms!) across the country.
Did you know that some people eat their asparagus white? The young shoots are covered with dirt, so that the lack of sunlight turns them pale while they grow. Some people find the plant tastier and more tender this way. And here’s a fun fact: the Turkish word for asparagus, kuşkonmaz, can be translated as, “a bird won’t land on it.” We can’t argue with that!
We’re not sure if rhubarb goes back as far as asparagus does, but it is mentioned in a Chinese medicinal text as early as 1,800 years ago. When it arrived in medieval Europe, it was so exotic and hard to get that it was several times the price of other valuable spices—even saffron! Have you seen how much that stuff costs?
If you ever decide to grow your own rhubarb, remember to only eat the stalks. The leaves are poisonous. Also, this plant is technically a vegetable, but in 1947, a New York court decided it was actually a fruit! Must have been a slow day for them, huh? But with its strong tart flavor, most people use it as a fruit anyway.
Both asparagus and rhubarb are wonderfully nutritious, with plenty of fiber and essential nutrients. Asparagus even has high levels of a compound called glutathione, which might help fight off certain kinds of cancer. Our asparagus plants are just starting to poke their heads up, and it’ll be ready for harvest in just a few weeks. Get ready for deliciousness!
We hope you learned a little bit about these excellent vegetables today, and that you’ll consider trying them yourself, if you haven’t already. In case you need a little extra convincing, we found some delicious recipes that will help you put them to good use. Thanks for stopping by today—we can’t wheat to see you again!