Norfolk Jolly Asparagus
Norfolk County Asparagus
I was delighted to accept an invitation extended by the wonderful Inga who is the office guru at Roundam Farm home of Tim and his son William Jolly the growers of Norfolk County Asparagus which are in my opinion the finest in all of the lands.
Asparagus have been grown there for near on a century and there are charming photographs showing previous growers peddling the green spears at markets and shows.
Steeped in tradition Asparagus is one of the last of the truly seasonal vegetables and in essence the King of all things green. British Asparagus from the end of April to midsummers day is a vital part of all greengrocers kit in the early summer months and for us it is important we have the best.
The first thing that struck me when entering Roundham Farm after being collected by Will was how incredibly tidy and clean the farm was, often huge working farms are littered with discarded equipment and various farming accoutrements,m not this one although it does offer a wildlife sanctuary.
Following the obligatory tea Will and I walked as he gave me an education in the growing of Asparagus, the daily selection and hand cutting process and the importance of the salted sandy soil of the Norfolk Brecks which gives this Asparagus its unique flavour.
The pickers and packers were happy and smiling while performing there diligent tasks and every part of the farming process is performed with great care, professionalism and without being clinical.
My favourite Asparagus tradition is that it should be packed in “pounders” of in this age of metric thats 454 grams to be precise and this was the inspiration in Tim, Will and my own thinking that we should have our own especially packed “Jolly Grass’ to supply to our customers which is such a great honour and privilege.
On my way back from Norfolk with a 12 minute window before catching my Train, Tim drove me through the lanes go the “change-lands” blessing me with more stories naturally I got on the wrong train this one heading to Manchester thanking god that it stopped in Peterborough.
Especially packed Norfolk County Asparagus in sizes “Large Select” and the “Thinner Choice” in 454 gram rounds is available until 21st of June.
How to Select, Prepare and Cook Asparagus
I will not do a recipe I will leave that to you guys but I will teach you the way to get the best from your asparagus
Firstly buy from a trusted source some less than scrupulous marketeers will attempt to sell you foreign as English, UK grass will have a very green sheen with a tiny hint of purple and will look fresh without wrinkles.
Check the base of the spears they should be quite white with a hint of green which means they were cut recently.
When you get your spears home don't cut the base off with a knife bend the spears until they break they will naturally break where tender ends and stringy starts,You can use the base in soups or indeed Juicing if thats your bag.
To cook if you don't have an Asparagus pot use one of the elastic bands that come with the bundles and stand the spears in half a saucepan full of cold water, as they cook upwards the spears turn slightly greener and when the tip has darkened whip them out.
You can of course enjoy grass on the BBQ, griddle, Grill or roasted do what ever yanks your crank just be sure you buy the best …its worth it.