Asparagus

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fresh-cut Asparagus at Verrill farmMy father-in-law used to grow asparagus, and one of Lorna's fondest childhood memories is of her mother cooking up fresh asparagus for dinner, straight from the asparagus patch.

Asparagus may be the ultimate expression of fresh, local vegetables. Those who have never enjoyed fresh-cut asparagus don't know how special, how ephemeral it is. The flavor of the supermarket product, that has spent days in a refrigerated truck, simply can't compare. There is something in there, some volatile acid or ester unknown even to our finest organic chemists, employed making caricatures of farm-fresh flavors.

My father-in-law no longer grows asparagus, at least not in any Earthly patch. I have found fresh-cut asparagus at Verrill Farm in Concord, MA, and at Wilson's Farm in nearby Lexington, and at a couple of honor-boxes, one in Dartmouth or Westport, and the other in the Pioneer Valley on the west bank somewhere near Deerfield. That's how it is: you seek, and you find and consider yourself blest by this best fleeting taste of spring.