Burge Organic Farm
Asparagus stalks flourish this spring
Those of us who treat small-scale farming as a spectator sport view asparagus as a returning champ: It’s one of the first crops of spring and a rare perennial vegetable. Farmers need only plant it once, and then they reap the rewards year after year.
Yet nature provides its own checks and balances. There’s a reason why sustainable-method farmers don’t inundate markets with heaping carts of green spears. “The weeds are a nightmare,” says Cory Mosser of Burge Organic Farm in Mansfield. You can’t avoid weeds, though, if you wish to grow asparagus without herbicides. If Mosser were to take a hoe to the whole patch, he says, he’d disrupt the crowns and kill the immature stalks. His secret weeding weapon? The innocent enthusiasm of young volunteers.
When Peachtree Road Farmers Market reopens on April 14, Mosser will sell his three-quarter-pound bundles of asparagus for $5, a price customers happily paid last year: “One week we went to market with 168 bunches of asparagus, and we sold out.” The fresh, tender stalks lure shoppers to Mosser’s other harbingers of spring, including young lettuces and first yields of the farm’s nearly 4,000 strawberry plants. 912-257-9865, burgeorganicfarm.wordpress.com
Photograph by Istockphoto.com