Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Murder of Purple Asparagus

OK. I'll just say it real quick. Like ripping off a really big band-aid.

Someone mowed my asparagus field.

Well, someone mowed the asparagus field that I rent. Or rather, that I no longer rent, since someone KILLED IT. Someone drove a really big, strong, many wheeled cutting machine over one acre of beautifully situated purple tipped asparagus ferns. From the looks of the field, the murder acted about six weeks ago.

Let me back up and explain why there will be no more asparagus in that field.

Asparagus produces on faith. It yields produce for six weeks or so in the early spring. When the temperature hits eighty degrees, the tips of the asparagus open up and shoot up at the rate of 3-6 inches per day until the asparagus tip itself looks like a fern. These ferns collect sun and nutrients and pull them back down into the deep rooted plant. The following spring, the plant produces more shoots. We eat those shoots. So....it is absolutely essential that when the asparagus begins to bolt, you LEAVE IT ALONE until MARCH of the NEXT YEAR. Ideally, you would set the field on fire in March, but the field I used to rent, the field that yielded around one hundred pounds per week of beautiful, fat, sweet, perfect asparagus, the field that is now DEAD, is also next to a playground and in the city limits. So, I figured if I set it on fire I'd be in a heap of trouble. Anyway, the ferns dry up over the winter and fall over. This provides a ground cover that keeps the earth from freezing quite so hard. It also holds moisture in as the weather warms up in the spring.

My field is dead.

It looks like a freaking lawn.

So why not just plant some more? Well, because (this is my patient voice) you don't get to harvest any asparagus for THREE YEARS after you plant it. I'm guessing that even if I had an acre of perfectly situated fertile soil with a microclimate just like the one in the field of dead asparagus, it would cost me between $3000 and $5000 to buy and plant enough of the somewhat rare, organically grown (oh....did I mention that the field had NEVER BEEN SPRAYED WITH CHEMICALS!!!) perfect little purple asparagus babies. And then, sometime in the spring of 2011, I'd be back in asparagus heaven.

Excuse me while I go out into the yard and scream.

What am I going to do with my life now? My asparagus farming days have come to an end and all I have left to keep me occupied is this blog.

I can't even think of an appropriate series of swear words that sums this up.

Nope.

Still nothing.

Asparagus was my happy place.

Now I have to find a new happy place.

That's it.

I'll be in Italy if anyone needs me.

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be nice...