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Asparagus season

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Supermarkets just don't have that quality asparagus.
So where to go?

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  1. I got some at whole foods last week that was good.

    1 Reply
    1. re: barryg

      Yes and so did I -- delicious.
      I wondered if there were any other places.
      When does Pete's Produce open?

    2. I think you all are on the main line, but in Bucks I just found super fresh, beefy asparagus at Organnon's in Newtown (18940) pa.

      My wife "shaves" the asparagus prior to grilling or steaming, which makes it more delectable to me; however, I imagine one loses some of the crunch and nutrients.

      3 Replies
      1. re: dndicicco

        I peel the lower end of the asparagus spears with my handy-dandy "spargel schaler" when they're thick; I think it makes for more tender asparagus.

         
        1. re: CindyJ

          I simply bend-to-break at the bottom and wherever it breaks off is where it now becomes the tenderest.

          1. re: CindyJ

            I love gadgets especially when they sound German. Thanks!

        2. I like the very thick type and Whole Foods has some beautiful organic asparagus. I have bought them a few times this season. The last time I bought fine looking purple asparagus that are very, very thick. The price will require you to obtain a mortgage ($6.99 lb). They also have less expensive non organic which were not as nice but still looked pretty good.

          1. You are not getting local asparagus yet, although it may be from the SE us - Carolina, etc.

            1. I picked up organic red asparagus for the first time. I haven't had red before - looking forward to it.

              1. It was Chef Tell Erhard who showed us the asparagus peeling move on one of his KYW - Philadelphia cooking spots back in the 70's. If the white lower stalk is shaved off the interior is soft and edible. Breaking off the bottoms is not necessary. There's a lot of good veggie in there. Steam and enjoy!
                CP

                1. I think the responses here are missing the point. It's asparagus SEASON and that means nothing will do except finding local, just out of the ground, asparagus! Nothing else compares, I don't care what color it is. I just moved from an area known for its asparagus and no one cooked asparagus outside of the season. I was hoping that hounds in Philadelphia would be able to direct me to the prime farmers' markets or the roadside stands when asparagus season came round but it looks like we're on our own, arepo. Maybe city slickers (I use the term affectionately) don't have the same affinity for eating "things in season."

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: JunieB

                    I agree 100%, but then again I have lots of farm stands nearby. Unfortunately everything is really late this year, but going for a ride tomorrow and expecting to pull a rabbit out of a hat. Luckily I know one place has fresh spring spinach if I get desperate.

                    1. re: coll

                      Report back and let us know what you find! I will be MIA this weekend.

                  2. I just looked on the Bucks County.org site and they say asparagus appears here in April, May and June. Another site said asparagus shows up in May.

                    If anyone is interested in "eating in season"- which is very in vogue right now! - here's a couple of links for our area:

                    http://localfoods.about.com/od/search...

                    http://www.buckscounty.org/LivingAndW...

                    1. Ranging from 3 euros/kg to 16 euros/kg have asparagus here in Paris from France, Spain, Portugal, Greece.
                      Have not seen any from Germany yet. Have tried white, violet, and green.
                      They have been excellent.
                      One of my more silly reasons for coming to Europe every Spring.

                      27 Replies
                      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                        Do you think the asparagus is better in Europe? The Pioneer Valley where I lived in MA is famous for it. Evidently the area has the perfect soil. Every spring some of their asparagus is sent to the White House. I would imagine the different soil types and climates in European countries would yield different asparagus from one country to another. Can you discern the difference between the countries? I know that shortly after being taken out of the ground the sugar in asparagus turns to starch so it should be eaten as soon after harvesting as possible.

                        1. re: JunieB

                          JunieB: You just taught me something I never knew before about my ever-lovin' asparagus.
                          I know that corn turns from sugar to starch fast and should be eaten stat but I never knew that about asparagus.
                          I also plan to try the "shaving route" instead of so much waste from breaking at the "give" point. I really don't like the taste of stringy asparagus.
                          So far I have been thwarted from finding anything better than the California ones from Whole Foods which are very good but ... well ... you know!

                          Next: Tomatoes. I am drooling for some real fine tomatoes (Heirlooms and New Jersey's finest) and cannot wait for the season to be upon us again.

                          1. re: arepo

                            Haha! You have a long wait for tomato season! Better start looking forward to the crops between now and then to take your mind off it! Spring peas and strawberries are two good spring crops.

                            1. re: arepo

                              I treat asparagus like a flower, cut a bit of the stem off and put in water with a little bit of dissolved sugar. Keeps it sweet and fresh!

                            2. re: JunieB

                              Not necessarily better, but different. The ones here can almost rank their goodness on their price.
                              Got a lot of Greek, beautiful and white and flavor was good, but the stalks were very woody regardless of how much was peeled off. They were the cheapest. Had some French violet last week at 9 euros/kg and they were just perfect.
                              If you go to a VERY high level restaurant in Paris during asparagus season, you can expect to pay @ 10 euros per spear.

                              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                Gee. Sounds like they need more asparagus growers! I like white asparagus too, but I had a spear at Mica last week that wasn't great - and definitely not local. I think asparagus gets woodier the longer it's out of the ground.

                              2. re: JunieB

                                German asparagus is The Best Asparagus world-wide. The areas around Berlin and near Heidelberg are considered the top notch growing grounds due to their particular terroir.

                                It tastes miles better than any asparagus I've had from any other countries.

                                1. re: linguafood

                                  And now is the time to start driving to the small towns along the Bergstrasse and around Mannheim for the sign "Spargel" outside a Gasthof.

                                  My favorite was a 4 course lunch in Heppenheim. Each course featuring asparagus. Of all colors.

                                  1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                    Honestly, I cannot fuckin' wait to get there.... only 2 more weeks :-)

                                  2. re: linguafood

                                    That's very interesting. I've never been there in the spring.

                                    1. re: JunieB

                                      May, September, and October are the finest months to travel in Europe. The North American tourists are largely gone, the symphonies are in concert, volksmarches with the required food and drink are pleasant, and the food is awesome. There are numerous beer and wine fests, and the oysters and mussels are in their prime. Not to mention sun filled glacier skiing in Austria with shots of Stroh Rum. Washed down with Stiegl beer.

                                      This is based on 10 years living with Germans, as opposed to living in the American ghetto next to the Kaserne.

                                      1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                        Agreed! September is usually my month.

                                    2. re: linguafood

                                      Be at Spergelfest in Germany in a month or so, cannot wait.

                                          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                            Wunderbar. Maybe our paths will cross -- I'm there early May through early July.

                                            Spargel, here we come :-)

                                            1. re: linguafood

                                              In 5/27-5/29, staying at Movenpick. Coming with a friend and meeting other friends.
                                              Had tried to contact Buttertart and you when in Phila, but she ignored my message.

                                              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                Oh, sorry she missed it.

                                                You can get in touch here: linguafood@linguafood.com

                                      1. re: linguafood

                                        uh-UH!!!
                                        Endlich Spargelzeit! http://tinyurl.com/kczksk6

                                        So far 4kg of glorious Spargel Der König unter dem Gemüse! :D

                                        PS: eur. 10,00/kg (x 4) for now.

                                        1. re: Pata_Negra

                                          Whoa. 10€ per kilo? That's rich.

                                          Then again -- yer still better off buying and cooking it yourself instead of paying even more for a few measly spears at a resto....

                                          1. re: linguafood

                                            That's because the season has started only recently. It gets cheaper every week after that. I get mine directly from an asparagus farm nearby. Nice that the miller (see pic in the link) is a stone's throw away from the asparagus farm who makes my Bauernbrot. Two birds with one stone.

                                    3. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                      "Silly" reasons? Aw, Deluca -- you know better than that '-)

                                    4. I live in NY and my local farmer says it is really late this year due to the weather. May not see any at his stand until late May. probably the same in Philly.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Sloth

                                        That makes sense, Sloth. I know that May is when the New Englanders really start salivating for their asparagus.

                                        1. re: Sloth

                                          There's usually local asparagus by now but the weather has been an issue. I have given up until at least May. For now, all I see is asparagus from Mexico.

                                        2. The Pass in Rosemont NJ has white asparagus flown in from France.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: PhillyBestBYOB

                                            That's pretty amazing. I really should check out The Pass. My wife and I hit up D'Floret in Lambertville about ten minutes away from the Pass. We wanted to do the walking thing...probably should have hit up the Pass, but D'Floret was passable.

                                            It's off South Main Street, which is a touch off the beaten path for Lambertville. We arrived at 5:30 and were the first ones there. It's very small, open-kitchen concept but not necessarily in a trendy way but in a necessarily small restaurant way!

                                            It's a bit too mom & pop for me, for instance, we literally had to endure them blending the soups in a Vitamix around the time we arrived. The husband and wife were also bickering over what particular soups were available (he's the chef, she's the maitre'd).

                                            That said, it's actually a cool experience. The avant-garde art fits Lambertville, and within 30 minutes the place was packed with locals and it's definitely a cool, upscale crowd.

                                            It's a farm-to-table concept, and they list a lot of the local farms. I found the greens very fresh, the spicy guacamole fun in a non-low-brow way, and my salmon entree was very tasty with a sweet crust and served in an apple-sauce base. My wife really enjoyed her goat-cheese, endives (?) salad. The soups did turn out to be good (one was a carrot base with the spicy guacamole, and the other was a truffle base)! It's a BYOB and we enjoyed a fantastic bottle of Rombauer Chardonnay, which helped...a lot. Yum.

                                            1. re: dndicicco

                                              Besides Mexico (which I refuse to buy) Whole Foods also has very good asparagus from California.

                                              Dicicco: Good to read a positive review on D'floret because I will be there in 2 weeks and have heard very good things about it.
                                              Never heard of The Pass. Will look it up.
                                              Thanks.

                                              1. re: arepo

                                                The Pass is Matt Ridgway's (of PorcSalt) new byob. It's very very good. A few minutes outside of Lambertville. There's a considerable thread on the NJ board.

                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9673...

                                                http://www.atthepass.com