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Farmers Market Fresh Item

Week 1: Asparagus

All About It:

asparagusAsparagus is one of the earliest producing vegetables each spring. Due to our cold March this year, locally-grown asparagus spears may not be available quite yet at your farmers market. But they should be soon.

Unlike many vegetables, asparagus is a perennial plant. It can take years to go from seed to spears you can eat. So if you are thinking about establishing an asparagus bed at your home, consider buying crowns at a nursery and planting them in the early spring. If you find the right sunny and well-drained spot, an asparagus plant can produce spears for 15 years or more.

Asparagus has a very high respiration rate compared to other vegetables, so spears can dry out quickly after being cut. To prolong their shelf-life in the refrigerator, you can wrap the bottoms in a damp cloth or place them upright in a pitcher and keep the bottom of the plant submerged in water (not unlike how you keep flowers). But you still will want to eat them within a couple of days.

Asparagus is a rich source of Vitamin K and folate. You can serve asparagus spears raw, broiled, grilled or sautéed. When preparing, cut and discard the lowest couple of inches of the spears — which are often tough. But make sure to keep the tips! They are perfectly fine to eat.

Recipes:

Grilled Asparagus and Shrimp Quinoa Salad with Lemon Vinagrette

Chicken & Asparagus Lemon Stir-Fry

Broiled Asparagus

Review Our Full List of Online Recipes

Fresh Food Links:

MFMA: Find a Farmers' Market Near You

Minnesota Grown

University of Minnesota Extension: Growing Asparagus in Minnesota

Farmers Markets at CentraCare Health

Farmers Markets are available at the following CentraCare Health locations:

St. Cloud

Every Thursday through Oct. 13 at CentraCare Health Plaza, from 3 - 6 pm

Long Prairie

Every Friday through Oct. 14 at CentraCare Health—Long Prairie from 2 - 6:30 pm

Paynesville

The 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month through Oct. 27 at CentraCare Health—Paynesville , 11 am - 1 pm