ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

California Asparagus is Going Under

Updated on May 24, 2019
JulieMoreno profile image

After 10 years in the restaurant industry, and 10 years figuring out where our food comes from. Now, I want you to cook your own food.

Source

The State of Local Food

Every year I buy a bunch of asparagus as a token to the local economy here in the Central Valley of California. To me this is an event because I actually purchase so few fruits and vegetables. I have been working at farms and trying to grow my own food for the past 10 years, this has made me question all of my purchases at the grocery store.

The occasion for me is celebrating the seasonal harvest of a vegetable that is only able to be produced for a couple of months of the year. By eating seasonally, I enjoy the best quality produce only at the time of year it is available in my region. I also support the people and places that grow my food.

So why should we care where our food is grown? Mexican asparagus probably tastes fine. Asparagus isn’t even one of my favorite vegetables. But, asparagus represents the seasonality of food. It’s only available for a few months of the year. And, as a perennial plant, it takes 2-3 years to get to maturity and then it takes up space in the ground for the rest of its life.

Asparagus has been grown here in the valley for over 100 years, and has been celebrated with its own festival in Stockton for 30 years. The fact that we have a festival that celebrates our heritage says to me that people take pride in the products that our region produces.

How can we have a festival that celebrates a product that isn’t even grown here anymore?

The Problem with Asparagus

Local farmers are discontinuing growing asparagus now because of the high labor costs that come with a crop that must be harvested by hand.

The farms in California and throughout the U.S. pay their employees our minimum wage which can be ten times the amount that a worker in Mexico would make for the same job. The majority of production cost in farming is labor. Asparagus costs farmers so much to harvest, that it isn’t worth growing in the United States, when it can’t be sold for enough money to cover their costs.

In California, according to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics, the number of acres planted with asparagus has fallen from 32,000 acres in 1998 to 6,000 acres planted in 2018. At this rate, there won’t be any U.S. grown asparagus in a few years! And as I write this, farmers in Stockton are destroying plants that they have in the ground and can’t afford to harvest. At many stores right here in the valley, they only carry Mexican asparagus, because it is so much cheaper than California grown.

So in my own little effort to pay farmers what they deserve, I bought a locally grown bunch this week.

Keeping things simple I grilled my asparagus then drizzled balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and fresh ground pepper.

I am going to have to learn how to grow this unique vegetable. Unfortunately, I will probably need to grow my own if I am going to have a token bunch every spring, in the years to come.

Grilled Asparagus

  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • balsamic vinegar

Remove the bottom end of the spears by breaking off a few by hand to see where the asparagus is tender, then cut the rest at the same height (you can break them all by hand if you want). Toss with a drizzle of oil and sprinkle of salt. Cook over a hot grill or cook under the broiler in the oven, turning once until they are brown on both sides. Remove from the heat and then drizzle with balsamic vinegar, season with salt, fresh ground pepper and an additional drizzle of olive oil if desired.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)