Edgar Farms had their second annual Asparagus Festival this past weekend and I was at the farm on Sunday grilling asparagus and talking the virtues of fresh, tasty, and local spears. This was a great event with the right balance of things to do and education and the visitors were very receptive. Asparagus is one of those things that most people have tried, but they have never had them this good. Edgar Farms asparagus is available at the Innisfail Growers farmer’s market stalls throughout the month of June and then the picking is stopped. This is to ensure that the ferns can grow to full maturity and therefore come back next year.
The one thing that struck me the most through my conversations is everyone’s interest in cooking the asparagus so they could taste as good as they did. First I told them to start with the best asparagus and then do very little to them. Just the simple process of tossing them with oil, salt, and pepper and grilling them quickly over high heat was an education for most. It just keeps on confirming that we are going to have to teach a lot of people how to cook as part of the local food movement. For years now they have been entertained by slick TV shows with whiz bang chefs telling them how easy it is to cook, but the message has been lost. It has turned cooking into something you watch and not necessarily do. I think when most people stand in front of a farmers stall full of products they just aren’t sure what to do with most of it. That’s why I think every market should have a resident chef on hand to give advice and tips on cooking.