Sunday, 27 April 2014

Time for Asparagus

"Asparagus inspires gentle thoughts."
Charles Lamb

Late in March this year, while doing our power walking, we passed by these covered rows in our village and instantly thought, Asparagus. They're cultivating asparagus in this area.We were quite surprised as we have not seen any asparagus cultivation in our place.

After a month of absence, we continued our early morning walks passing now a colorful fields of rapeseeds and other green grains, young strawberry plants side by side with harvested fields now brown and waiting for new planting.

 Then we came nearer to the fields now full of workers, bending, lifting the covering sheets, and we know they're harvesting asparagus. In German it is called spargelstechen or to cut asparagus.

 The white and dark covering made of vinyl materials have two functions like that of the green house effect. If the weather is still very cold, the dark side is facing outside to keep the right temperature for the growth of the asparagus and white covering facing outside to avoid extreme hot temperature. When it gets hot, one says that asparagus get cooked.
 While taking shots of them from afar, this worker has been very friendly, waving to me as he notices that I've been taking photos of them or could he be saying No?
 The sequence of the hard work of harvesting asparagus: checking every row, lifting the cover and looking for the ones ready to be cut. Asparagus can grow up to 15 cms. per day from a humus, sand rich soil.
 The friendly, handsome worker is from Romania. The guest workers in this photo come from Romania. Most of the guest workers in Germany come from Poland and Romania, and they stay for at least three months working in the fields earning 6 to 7 Euro per hour. (I really hope they get that much payment for this back-breaking work.) Asparagus season lasts until about June 24 every year.
Freshly harvested asparagus-bio ones

My first basketload of asparagus...just posing out of delight.

One worker gave me his working knife to complete the ops for the  photo.

 Talking with them, I noticed that they understand more English than German as I started my questions in German but they readily answered when I started conversing in English. Didn't protest when I asked for permission for taking photos. Thank you very much for your kind approval.
I asked if we could buy the freshly harvested ones but one worker answered that we get them from the bio-shop in the village. Here they are preparing to leave the fields to go back the next day for another spargelstechen. Somehow they reminded me of OFWs working somewhere in this world, staying away from the their families to earn a living.

The white gold as served in local restaurants with pork chops, cutlets, scrambled eggs, ham and potatoes with cleared butter or Hollandaise sauce for prices ranging from 12 to 16 Euro for a plate with a half-kilo asparagus.

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