That’s what we called asparagus when I was growing up. It didn’t really matter what we called it, since we hardly ever had it and, when we did, it was canned smoosh hardly worthy of the name–or any name, other than canned smoosh. Still, I came to like it and was MOST disappointed when I had some fresh and it didn’t taste like salted aluminum and had an actual texture other than…you know…smoosh.

But I thought it was way cool that people could actually grow their own luxury item so, when we moved to the country, I bought a package of asparagus seed. Folks laughed at me. “Don’t you know it takes three years from planting before you can harvest asparagus?” I was like, “How long will it be if I don’t plant it?”

As usual, the laugh was on me, because you can buy mature crowns (the bit that grows underground and sends up the asparagus shoots) to cut the time. Ah, well. Meanwhile, I got to see the little teeny baby asparagus shoots and ferns, which was a charming experience. It was like fairy food. Miniature folks, please note: How cool would it be to plant asparagus seed in tubs outside your miniature house and have tiny little living plants come up? Very cool! (By the way, by “miniature folks”, I meant people interested in miniatures, not, like, The Borrowers or The Incredible Shrinking Man, although they’re welcome to the idea, as well.)

Anyway, now we have an asparagus bed. Yesterday, we had fresh asparagus for supper. It was not salty aluminum smoosh, it was full-flavored and crisp-tender and delicious. And this is what it looks like when it first comes up. I kid you not. Yes, it looks like some wisenheimer bought some asparagus spears at the grocery and stuck them into the dirt, but this is how they come up. Then those nubs at the top open into fronds and you get this pretty lacy ferny plant. The female ones (sorry about the s3x) grow little red berries, which drop and make more baby plants.

The bad thing is the asparagus beetles. Heartbreaking, to come out and find bugs all over your asparagus spear (is it getting hot in here, or is it just me?). Anyway, Charlie says he’s going to dust the bed with Sevin to see if he can wipe out the bugs early in the harvest. That means I’ll have to wash the spears in warm soapy water before we cook or marinate them.

A small price to pay. You have to keep your spears clean, or no one will want to…. You know, this post is over.

MA

writing prompt: If your character could grow one thing fresh, what would it be?

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