It’s asparagus time! A visit to Marsoni’s asparagus farm

What’s your favourite variety? Do you prefer green or white asparagus?

Did you know that the habit of eating asparagus was already very popular during Roman times? The Romans used to cultivate them in large quantities and Roman emperors liked asparagus so much that they would build special ships called “asparagus” in order to transport them.

Whilst in Italy I was thrilled to be invited by the Marsoni family to visit their asparagus farm.  The rustic, colourful and pleasantly warm look of their farmhouse, immersed in the peaceful Friulian countryside, has that typical architecture of the regions of Friuli and Veneto and it is simply splendid.

marsoni farmhouse

carriage and flowers
the porch
The Marsoni family began farming at the beginning of the 19th century and to this day among the many crops they produce are considerable quantities of corn and green and white asparagus.
In Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia the asparagus production is concentrated towards the white variety, whose cultivation is higher than green one although both types are very popular

White asparagus are white because they are buried in the soil and never see the sun. In fact they are also covered in black plastic sheets. They differ in taste to the green variety as they are more delicate, with a creamy and buttery texture, ideal in risotto dishes, lasagne or just on their own with a dash of olive oil, a pinch of salt and lemon juice.

white asparagus tips

White asparagus are covered up and buried in the soil

Tradition says that white asparagus were discovered by accident in 1500 thanks to a monk who had to pick them up by pulling them from the ground, thus discovering their delicacy and their methods of cultivation.

asparagus in field

Green asparagus ready to be picked

I found it interesting to know that it takes 3 years to grow asparagus and lots of work has to be put into the soil with consistent treatments in order to produce them, that’s why they can be quite costly. They are gorgeous vegetables though and they can transform a dish.. they also have depurative and diuretic properties.

After being picked by hand they are washed in large machines;

asparagus washing machine

They are then prepared to be sold by cutting off their tough ends.

Buying asparagus straight from a farm makes a big difference. They are crunchier, crispier and generally tastier  than the ones you find in supermarkets which look drier and are pretty much tasteless by the time they reach your table.

preparing asparagus

Preparing asparagus

A good piece of advice I have been given is to store them in the fridge and wrap them in a damp cloth, where they can last well for 3 to 4 days. You can also submerge their stems and store them in cold water for 24 hours outside the fridge.

white asparagus

This visit was so interesting, there were many things I did not know about asparagus. I went home with some asparagus and made a tasty risotto and with the asparagus being so fresh, it was one of most tasty risottos I have ever made!

Before leaving I took a view of the beautiful and restful scenery with the Julian Alps in the background. I love my beautiful region.

mountains in the background

I’d like to thank the Marsoni family for their courtesy and hospitality. (www.marsoni.it).

 

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6 Responses to It’s asparagus time! A visit to Marsoni’s asparagus farm

  1. Dottie Sauchelli Balin

    Dear Alida,
    What a wonderful and informative post you wrote. Love all of the photos, I agree the scenery is magnificent! How lucky you were to be invited to the Marsoni asparagus farm. I have seen the white ones before, but never bought them. They do not look to appealing to the eye, but now that you explained more about them, I will try them next time I go to the market. I am shocked to learn that it takes three years for the asparagus to grow, that is for one stalk? It really was interesting I am sure. The taste must have been so much better than when we get it in the stores. Love the taste of fresh veggies that just came out of the soil. Thank you for sharing your experience with us..I enjoyed this post very much. Dottie 🙂

    • Alida

      Thank you Dottie. I was surprised that it took so long to get your first asparagus. So much work but it is all worth it in the end! X

  2. Francesca Catanuso

    I had NO idea it grows like little sprouts! Actually.. I never thought about how it grew.. Super cool 🙂

  3. Diana

    Hi Alida! I am with Dottie! NO IDEA it took so long for asparagus to grow. Gosh! What a cool post! Now I am off to look at your other posts I missed in the past weeks. 🙂

  4. Angie (@angiesrecipess)

    Just bought a couple of kilos white asparagus…I used to prefer the green one, but these days I find the white one so much juicier and tastier.

  5. la cucina di Molly

    Quante belle notizie interessanti sull’asparago che non conoscevo! L’asparago bianco non l’ho mai provato, devo rimediare! Grazie per aver postato questa bella esperienza nella fattoria Marsoni! Un abbraccio!

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