Hello! It has been a crazy amount of time since I last wrote, but some dedicated souls managed to find my previous posts (which is rather akin to finding cave paintings) so I thought since I’m home anyway. . . Time to write! What better to write about than something as delicious as white asparagus?
QUEEN OF VEGETABLES
Did you know white asparagus is a huge deal in Europe? If you’ve been there during the season, you can go to restaurants and cafes serving nothing but white asparagus (Spargel in German). You can have it chilled (salad style), asparagus soups, to the classic white asparagus with hollandaise sauce, potatoes, and ham. It’s known varyingly and affectionately as the Queen of Vegetables or White Gold. The season is short and once it is over – that’s it. No more until next year, so it is richly anticipated because once the season closes, farmers cannot legally sell it, even if they have it. Season starts mid-April (start date depends on the weather) and ends on St. John’s Day which is 24th June. The Goldilocks of the food world, it is very high maintenance, I mean, really high. If the weather is too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry, if the ground it too hard, well, you get my drift. It has to be kept from sunlight, so the vegetable is kept covered with soil to prevent it from turning green like regular asparagus. Meaning those delicate spears must be hand harvested – super labour intensive, super expensive, and super delicious. Being married to a German Chef, who runs a food import company means we bring this in from Germany every year since we discovered How Holste.
The farm, Hof Holste, has been sending us their gorgeous product for seven years now. A nicer bunch of people you will never meet. They’re dedicated to what they do, to the extent that last year the whole family got into the fields to get the asparagus picked (something else we have COVID to thank for – no Polish workers who traditionally zoom over for the picking season because it is so lucrative for them) so it could be shipped to Singapore. The whole family from kids to grandma and grandpa. I reckon it’s something to do with being a parent, but I swear I could feel the kids eyerolls from here. Mine would also moan, but they’d get to picking with a minimum of physical threats. I think. Um. I’ll get back to you on that one. This year similarly had its challenges with shipping, but we got product here, and it was gorgeous!
So we have some exciting news! This year one of the German TV stations is doing a series on local farms and Hof Holste is featured! Roland got to do a phone interview and shot some video of the asparagus arriving here and being delivered to Huber’s Butcher. I’ll include the link below – with Roland speaking Hoche Deutch (high German or formal German) as they specially told him he couldn’t use his local southern German dialect as no-one would understand him, which I thought was hilarious. Hilarious in principle as I don’t speak German although you couldn’t tell that from my ability to ask for a cold beer. Now there’s a phrase that rolls neatly off the tongue
This is the link for the news story – it starts at 21m30s. Nifty, eh?