"The tragic reality is that very few sustainable systems are designed or applied by those who hold power, and the reason for this is obvious and simple: to let people arrange their own food, energy and shelter is to lose economic and political control over them. We should cease to look to power structures, hierarchical systems, or governments to help us, and devise ways to help ourselves." - Bill Mollison

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Wild Asparagus

I have been on the hunt for wild asparagus for sometime now, finding it for the first time last year. We happened to inadvertently stumble upon the palatable delights while walking along a river bank picking service berries in late June. The plants were already in the latter stages of their development for the most part, but we were able to gather enough for a meal. I made a mental note of the location and decided to make a return trip earlier the next year.

A new year has arrived and we went back and found our asparagus bed still under water as the river had yet to recede from spring runoff. We only found one stalk higher up on the bank that was bit past its prime. We hope to go back for another look in a couple of weeks. It is interesting that asparagus roots can survive underwater at all, but they must as this river is always high in the early spring.

It seems like it has been harder to "get away" and hunt for wild edibles or just wander the forest trails the last couple years for a variety of reasons. One of my goals for this year is to make time for such events as those are some of the best days of my life. Forced to choose between our wild wanderings and my food gardens, the gardens would be set aside. The quiet enchantment of the wilderness has no equal in my eyes, it brings about a feeling of awe that cannot be fully appreciated through mere words. My preference, of course, is to enjoy them both for as long as possible.

Last year's asparagus was found all along the river bank, about as far out as the partially submerged bush in the picture.

Wild lupine was just starting to bloom.


Silke said...

Gorgeous photos! The river seems quite high, and the asparagus looks tasty! I love asparagus in any form - white, green, or wild... Looking forward to more pictures from your garden AND your get aways. You live in a beautiful area!!! Silke

Mr. H said...

Thanks Silke,

We were planting tomatoes today, and our next get away will be a wood cutting mission... not so fun. It is very beautiful around here but so is your area and we certainly don't have any of those neat ferns growing in our trees.

Amber said...

Hi there!

Just saw your blog and this post at Down to Earth and had to say hello.

I've been discovering wild edibles this spring and learning how to identify plants and herbs. I too have been having some of my best days finding and picking a patch of violets, identifying a new use for a 'weed' and I will leave the garden early to pick dandelions before they close up for the night.

The other day I found a patch of wild asparagus growing in my city's arboretum. It was in a place I have been returning to for the last four years. It is too far gone to harvest this year (which is how I was able to identify it), but I will back next spring to try a spear or too.

Seeing it pop out of the landscape and feeling the instant recognition was an incredibly exciting and joyful moment!

Hope your submerged patch comes up soon.

Mr. H said...

Hi Amber,

It's nice to hear from a fellow "weed" eater. Identifying wild edibles is truly a worth while past time.

Isn't it funny how some of these plants can go unnoticed until you really start to look. Nature has provided a variable cornucopia of food for us if we just pay a little attention.

I hope this summer finds you with a whole slew of new and unusual wild edibles. One of the best parts of eating these foods is the immense amount of nutrition some of them hold. I was just reading that certain elderberries (they grow wild everywhere around here) are ten times more nutritious then blueberries.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by, and good luck hunting... aren't dandelions great?


The Gingerbread House said...

Thanks Mr, H. for that photo near the lake! It was beautiful and I so miss looking at a large bed of rushing water. Thanks again for it....

Mr. H. said...

Ginny - I can't wait for spring so that we can wander along the river and pick asparagus once again.:)

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