“It’s tall, it’s green and it can grow up to eight inches in one day. And, a field of it is one of the strangest sights you’ll see on a farm. It’s asparagus,” said Lisa. In this episode she visits with Bud Brown with United Turf. A few years ago, United Turf decided to branch out and add 24 acres of vegetables to the farm. This gave the employees additional work and diversified the farm. One of the crops they grow that everyone looks forward to is asparagus. The vegetable has an extremely short growing season and high demand.
Brown offers Lisa a few tips for home gardeners that want to plant their own asparagus. These tips include purchasing good asparagus crowns, making sure they’re male plants about one to two years old. Also, get a soil sample to make sure the soil is good for growing asparagus. Finally, and this is the hard part, wait until the third growing season to eat what you harvest.
If you would just rather buy your asparagus at the market to enjoy, the best way to store it is standing up in the refrigerator in an inch of water, or with a wet paper towel wrapped around the ends.
After Lisa’s visit with Brown, she travels to Dragonfly Inn in Corolla to work with Chef Evan Hayes of Island Thyme Cooking Company on few recipes featuring asparagus. Below is his recipe for Currituck Asparagus Soup.
In large pan, sauté onion, garlic and fennel. In a separate bowl, combine wine and honey until honey is dissolved completely, add to onion, garlic and fennel mixture to deglaze pan. Pour sauté into medium stockpot. Add chicken stock, and reduce by half over medium-high heat. Add cream and bring back to a slow boil and season base to taste. Add asparagus and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat. With ladle, add equal parts soup, cream cheese, spinach to blender. Strain to remove any woody stalk pieces. Serve into soup bowl and top with crab meat garnish.