The window for fresh asparagus is so very short; it usually starts producing in April, so that when the farm markets open, the season is half over. While one can now get asparagus year-round at the big groceries, asparagus is best freshly-cut.
Like many vegetables, it begins to convert its sugars to starches immediately after harvest. Unlike the tomato which is relatively easy to grow one or two of each year even when one has a small yard or is short on space, the asparagus takes some investment of time in planting and waiting for the first harvest (three years). It is a perennial, and once established and in a preferred location, it may produce easily for several decades. The asparagus at the grocery is likely to be shipped from out of state, meaning it is not as fresh as you might hope. But several vendors at the Fayette County Farmers Market are offering asparagus, no doubt cut, the evening before or the morning of the market. If you are a fan, be sure to thank them for investing in this vegetable.
Asparagus is PACKED with nutrients….the antioxidant glutathione (a powerful cancer fighter), folic acid (come and get it, pregnant moms), B and C vitamins, thiamine, potassium and dietary fiber. And at only about four calories per spear, you can eat a lot of it with no guilt. Grilling or roasting asparagus is popular and delicious….one doesn’t need much more than some good oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. Or you’ll find that asparagus in a creamy sauce with pasta (think pasta primavera) is a simple yet elegant dish. Instead of the usual cream, try using some ricotta and parmesan cheeses, and some chopped fresh herbs (chives, garlic chives or scallions). You’ll want about equal parts asparagus and pasta.
The Fayette County Farmers Market is open Saturday morning from 8:30 to noon and is located in the municipal parking lot on the corner of South Main and East East streets in Washington C.H. SNAP EBT food benefit cards, Senior Farm Market coupons and credit/debit cards are accepted. Those using the SNAP EBT card for food purchases receive matching dollar “Produce Perks” tokens ($1 for $1) good only for fruits, vegetables and food producing plants. So,”buy one, get one” for up to $20 EVERY market day.
The craft table at the market info booth this Saturday will feature “Make your own kite craft.” Mrs. Debra will be there to help kids decorate and assemble their own little flying kite.
Indigo Roots, a local yoga and wellness studio located at 118 W. Court St., will join the market this Saturday as a featured “community guest.” They will bring with them wonderful products from their boutique for sale, and information on classes and upcoming events like the “Summer Soul-stice Experience” (a weekend long yoga retreat June 21-23 right here in Fayette County). They will also host a free introduction to Yoga & Breathwork at 10 a.m. and participants will be entered to win a gold pass to the studio, worth six free classes at Indigo Roots. No mats required.
This year’s promotional theme is “Fresh & Local for YOU,” sponsored by the Fayette County Farm Bureau. The market is honoring all veterans —active duty and reserves— by offering a $5 coupon each and every market day. This offer is also extended to all Farm Bureau members as a member benefit. Just stop by the market info tent and pick up a coupon. These coupons may be used to make farm market purchases anytime during the season.
The following list contains the names and products of the vendors that expect to set up this Saturday. Other vendors may participate as well.
Chilcote Farm (Bruce & Marlene Chilcote): Honey, chocolate sheet cakes, cookies, and a new item; baked donuts (strawberry, blueberry and plain).
Donaldson Workshop (Roger Donaldson): Wooden spoons, cutting boards, trays, etc.
Engedi (Beth Day, Alana Walters, Janet Bick): Assorted home baked goods (cinnamon rolls, bread, yeast rolls, cookies, pies) and a special children’s activity.
Featherstone Apothecary (Sylvia Call): Natural soaps, salves, deodorants, dog care items, soy candles, and other natural goodies.
Jev & Kai Clothing Co (Alexa Kelley): Handmade clothing and accessories. Special orders accepted.
Jones Farm Fresh Produce (Jon & Taylor Jones): Strawberries, green onions, pork chops, sausage patties, bulk sausage, Italian and jalapeño links, maple links, ground pork, chicken breast, whole chickens, wings, sweet Italian and chorizo links, sausage patties, ground hamburger and hamburger patties and brown eggs.
Kelsie’s K-9 Creations (Jennifer Anderson): Homemade dog treats.
Persinger Produce & Cottage Foods (David Persinger and Julie Mosny): The Jam Man will have assorted jams & jellies including apple butter and mango saffron jam, Cayenne Cashew brittle, and assorted Texas sheet cakes. The Pie Lady will bring honey, pies (cherry, apple, rhubarb, strawberry rhubarb, blackberry). Also carrot cake, chocolate cake with caramel icing, cinni mini’s, sweet rolls and Bun’s spice bars.
Things I Make (Susan Smith): Hand sewn girls’ dresses (sizes 2-16) and aprons.
This and That (Mary Ford): Peanut butter fudge, assorted quick breads and baked goods, catnip toys, goose outfits, crafts.
Wood Designed by DW (Debbie Welch): Handmade, unusual wood crafts. Hand made crocheted dishtowels, clothes, potholders, pocket books and baby booties. Special orders welcome. Cookies, fudge and brownies.
Your Other Mother’s Kitchen (Don & Sara Creamer): Artisan breads, whole wheat brownie tarts, bran muffin tops, and fresh asparagus.
Bridge View Garden (Hunter & Lorelle Rohrer): Vegetable and bedding plants. Hand woven rugs.
By Thy Hand (Mark and Lori Chrisman): Angel food cakes, specialty breads, pies, cookies, dip mixes.
Katrina Bush is a vendor with the Fayette County Farm Market.