Mediterranean Living is headquartered near the Connecticut River in Western Massachusetts. The river-bordering towns are famed for rich soil and beautiful farmlands. Born from this richness is a strong local farming community. You can pick up an abundance of fresh, local produce at farm stands, CSA’s and farmer’s markets. One of the most celebrated foods grown in our area is asparagus grown in Hadley, MA. In fact, Hadley has been known as “The Asparagus Capitol of the World.” This asparagus is literally fit for a queen, having been served for many years at Queen Elizabeth’s II’s Annual Spring Feast.
We affectionately refer to asparagus as Hadley Grass. The term “grass” does embrace the reality that cultivated asparagus is a tamed wild vegetable. At the end of a long and cold winter, nothing is more exciting than to see the asparagus spears beginning to pop up out of the soil.
Once the season begins, you’ll find asparagus being prominently sold along well-traveled byways and tucked along side roads at small farms and homes. You can also grab a bunch at small local markets and food co-ops too. And, of course, we look forward to Hadley’s Annual Asparagus Festival that features everything asparagus. You can enjoy music, the Beers and Spears Tasting Tent, the Asparagus Family Festival and the “Spear-it Gala.” There’s something for everyone. In addition to the newer Asparagus Festival, you can find asparagus at local church suppers.All of the local restaurants in the region include asparagus in their specials in the spring. Stop by Flayvors of Cook Farm, where you can get asparagus ice cream during the growing season. We’ve tried it and it is delicious!
Saveur wrote a fantastic article about the history of Hadley asparagus. Needless to say, we were excited that everyone could share in this great article about Hadley’s asparagus industry and how the asparagus came back after an asparagus blight. And, of course, there are some great asparagus recipes alongside the article as well.
Here is one of our favorite asparagus recipes from New York Times. If you love pesto, you’re going to love this!
Here is a video from Mediterranean Living’s Bill Bradley…..