Harvesting white asparagus

by on February 8, 2010

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El Niño, characterized by unusually warm temperatures in the Pacific Ocean near the equator, caused a wave of January rainstorms in Sonoma County—and an early harvest in our garden thus far this season. On January 15, our white asparagus arrived two months early, so we recorded a video of Sous Chef Manuel burying the asparagus to deprive the spears of light and ultimately color. Two weeks later, the white asparagus was ready to be unburied, harvested and taken up the hill to our winery kitchen, where Manuel peeled the white asparagus, then tied the spears with string (both efficient and protective, as white asparagus is more brittle than green) before blanching. Here’s a short video of the harvesting process and kitchen preparations.