Saturday, April 26, 2008

Signs of Spring

First it was crocuses. Then daffodils. Then magnolias. Then tulips, crabapples, and dogwoods. Now the lilacs are blooming. And the phlox. And apparently, that means it is also asparagus time! Hooray! "Home grown" asparagus were two bunches for $4.00 at Janoski's in Clinton (out by the airport) today. You can combine a visit to Janoski's with a trip out to the Raccoon Creek State Park Wildflower Preserve (further along on Rte. 30) and see trillium and Virginia bluebells along with bluets, phlox, and Dutchman's breeches. Just check the weather forecast before you go.

In case that area of Western Pennsylvania is not in your plans, local asparagus is also currently available at Soergel's in Wexford. There it is $3.29 a pound. Rick Zang of Zang's Greenhouse in Butler, a vendor at the East Liberty Farmer's Market Cooperative, said his would be ready next week. Harvest Valley Farms promises theirs will be in their Farm Market when it opens on May 5th.

My favorite way to eat asparagus is when it is roasted. Wash asparagus and break or cut off the woody bottom part of the stem. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Toss the asparagus with olive oil, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Cook for 10 minutes or so -- until it just begins to get tender and is still bright green.

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