June will mark nine months of living in Germany. My time here has been quite busy and filled with volunteering galore. My tenure as the Activities Chair with The Wiesbaden Community Spouses Club ended in the beginning of June. We closed the season with an unforgettable trip to Bauer Lipp Spargel Farm about 30 minutes away from Wiesbaden. We had a sizable group of 30 people. Spargel is white asparagus and the season lasts from April to June 24, no sooner, no later. It’s very Germany to stop on a precise date. During spargel season, you will find stands everywhere selling this wonderful delicacy. Typically, where white asparagus is being sold you will find fresh strawberries too. Bauer Lipp’s vision was make white asparagus marketable, so what other place did he go to learn marketing tactics, but America! Spargel season is a huge deal. During the season, you will find restaurants highlighting this delicious vegetable. Yesterday, I had the most wonderful, creamy, pureed spargel soup, garnished with a strawberry gastrique and crushed pistachios from Restaurant Comeback. Our morning started with a tour of the farm, which was accompanied with a bit of rain. We saw how the spargel is processed and divided. Our animated, English-speaking tour guide was Judy Schoenmayer, she translated everything for us. Here’s an interesting fact about the farm: the workers are mostly Romanian and live on the farm for the whole season.
Prior to eating, we had to work up an appetite. The mound of dirt with hidden treasures of spargel were covered by white tarp. By blocking out the light, photosynthesis is unable to occur, so in turn you get an albino asparagus. Half way through our picking session the rain stopped. Picking spargel is no easy feat. I have much respect for the people working on the farm. It took me a good 5 minutes to harvest one spargel stalk. The technique is to find the tip of the asparagus and push the dirt away with your fingers deep enough to use the long extruder tool that was given to us, to cut the bottom of the stalk. There was a farm hand with us that put us all to shame. She could basically complete this process within less than a minute. Spargel picking beast she was.
After the muddy & arduous picking we were rewarded with: schnitzel (fried breaded pork cutlet), boiled potatoes, poached spargel, hollandaise, and Reisling (duh, we’re in Germany). This was the best part of the tour. If you have a chance to visit this farm, I recommend visiting the shop and picking up pickled asparagus and fresh strawberries. The strawberry jam I purchased was delicious as well, they threw in halved strawberries to create a heartier jam.
If you would like even more information on Spargel visit the A Sausage Has Two blog, and read “Spargel Everything”. Thanks to everyone that participated in this great event. Until next time!