Q. What’s the story of the white asparagus? It’s tough, labor-intensive, expensive and it looks weird. Why do people still like it?
A. Fresh white asparagus is a real treat. It’s very tender and has a mild, sweet taste. The trick is to buy it freshly cut as it has a short shelf life. Contrary to the high demand in the high-end restaurant world, most supermarkets don’t move enough to keep this very perishable item fresh.
Q. California asparagus season is now. Where does it come from the rest of the year?
A. Asparagus is local usually from late February through May. Then there is a little Bakersfield pocket in June. After that from fall to winter it arrives from Mexico and Peru. Mexican is usually better than South America as it’s trucked up here as opposed to a three week boat ride.
Q. How do you select the best asparagus in the market?
A. I only purchase the freshest asparagus at the best price. (At the moment that happens to be Salinas and Stockton.) I look for a nice tight spear and a good fresh clean cut on the bottom. I grip the bunch to make sure it has a good “squeak” to it. I also make sure there is little-to-no white on the bottom. I buy it four or five times per week to keep it as fresh as possible.
Have a question of your own for Robbie you’d like answered in a future e-news? Ask it on our Facebook wall or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Asparagus questions courtesy of Polina A. via Sigona’s Facebook page.
– Robbie Sigona is our produce buyer. He works with local farmers and scours the market for the very best in fresh fruits and vegetables — some you won’t find anywhere else.