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Coastal View Produce Asparagus

Spring seems to have arrived early this year. We received our first shipment this week of California grown asparagus from Coastal View Produce. We are proud to have been working with CVP for 8 years. Brian Violini and his family have been growing organic asparagus for over 40 years in the Salinas Valley. Brian’s Grandfather was a Swiss immigrant who started a new life in the fertile Salinas Valley.  “I can remember being 10 years old and pulling weeds and moving sprinklers for my grandfather,” says Brian, who now runs Coastal View Produce with his brother. “We’ve had this farm for three generations. My grandfather started with a dairy and then moved into farming. My dad and my uncle ran the farm after him, and now it’s me and my brother. Farming, it’s all we know.”

California produces over 70 percent of the nation’s fresh market asparagus with over 20,000 acres, followed by Michigan and Washington. The height of the season in California runs from March to June.  California asparagus is mainly grown at the confluence of California’s two greatest rivers, the Sacramento and the San Joaquin, in the rich peat of the delta lands an hour south of Sacramento. Salinas Valley, the Central Coast, Coachella-Imperial Valley area and Santa Barbara County are also considered prime growing areas. Asparagus was originally planted in the delta region in 1852 but the interest in growing asparagus commercially wasn’t until the early 1900’s.

Fun Fact:

Asparagus is a perennial crop producing year after year. The crowns are planted in long beds deep in the ground. As the weather warms, a single asparagus spear can grow anywhere from 6 to 10 inches in a single day.

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How to store and eat asparagus

Try to eat them as soon as you buy them but you can store them upright in the refrigerator in a dish of water or wrap a damp towel over the ends and store in a plastic bag.

When you’re ready to eat them, snap or cut off the woody white portion of the butt end of the asparagus. They’re perfect coated with olive oil and roasted, which leaves them firmer, nuttier and sweeter than steaming.  I also like to peel the larger sizes into thin strips for a raw salad or piled on top of a pizza. Asparagus is high vitamin C and K and folic acid and contain less than 50 calories per 6 oz serving.

Catch Earl this weekend on An Organic Conversation for his update on asparagus, kale and avocados. Learn more about the life cycle of asparagus and how it is picked and packed into beautiful uniformed bunches in a future blog.

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