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means it's really and truly spring

I want to show you my asparagus!

Does anything herald spring more decisively than the first green stems of asparagus?

Our asparagus patch has decidedly ignoble origins. It has been a compost pile. It has been a scruffy bit of tilted hillside. Actually, it still is.

Many years ago, someone planted asparagus there and it still comes up every year. Some years, we forget to pick it, and it grows into ferny, wavy fronds of asparagus-gone-to-seed. And then the next year, there's still more asparagus.

Comically, we once tried to plant it. We became overly enthusiastic and ordered many crowns of gourmet asparagus. Then traveling happened, and we ended up desperately pawning it off on a neighbor, who now gives us–asparagus! every spring!

Our asparagus is thick and undignified. None of that beautiful thin-stemmed French stuff that you see in the market. But it's tender! Not fibrous! It barely needs cooking. In fact, we sauteed it this year and found that the stems react to pan heat just beautifully.

And like all wonderful things, its season is short, and you are soon left with merely the memory of it.

Try as you might, a desperate scramble for asparagus at the market will not assuage the pain you feel at the thought that asparagus season has come and gone and left you behind.

Until next year.

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