Like most city folk, going into the country isn’t exactly a daily occurrence. But when it’s rhubarb and asparagus season, well, it’s hard to stay away. This past weekend my friend from New York city was visiting and suggested we do “something outdoorsy” during his visit. My first thought: “we have to get into the Greenbelt”. What could be more on the other end of the spectrum from living and working in the bright lights and big city of New York? We literally went from the airport to Andrew’s Scenic Acres in Milton to pick the most delicious rhubarb and asparagus we ever had.
I’m not sure how many of you have ever picked your own asparagus, but it’s not at all what I expected. I confess that this was the first time I ever saw how asparagus grows. As you can see from the pictures, each asparagus grows straight from the ground, it’s like walking through an asparagus forest. Some were as high as four feet and others just inches sprouting from the ground. The trick to picking them, we were taught, is to cut them an inch below the ground to ensure they grow again. It took us a little which to find the rhubarb, and picking that is a little more traditional, and no surprises in how they are grown. I remember seeing lots of rhubarb growing as a kid in a farmer’s field I used to walk through which has since become a golf course.
Later that evening we enjoyed some asparagus cooked with a splash of lemon and some strawberry rhubarb sorbet. I’m not sure if it was the freshness, the satisfaction of knowing we’d picked it ourselves or the pure joy of a field to table experience, but it really was the yummiest thing ever! Top that New York City!
-- Elissa Hermolin (Elissa is the Special Events Manager for the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation)