It's wild asparagus time in Kamloops and Okanagan - InfoNews

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It's wild asparagus time in Kamloops and Okanagan

It takes a keen eye to spot wlld asparagus spears nestled amongst new grass growth in the valley bottoms of the Thompson and Okanagan.
April 30, 2020 - 7:00 AM

The warmer late April days have triggered growth of a perennial wild crop that’s highly sought after by food foragers all over the Thompson and Okanagan regions.

Asparagus is in season, and the wild variety is sprouting from Osoyoos right up to Kamloops these days.

Kelowna-based forager Scott Moran says best bets for finding wild asparagus is near older orchards where it was sometimes grown as a cash crop between the young orchard trees.

“It hasn’t been growing quite as much this year, as it’s been so dry. Everything is smaller,” he says.

He says this year’s crop is lighter so far.

“If someone is looking to pick, it’s best to do it after rainy, cloudy weather, the stalks will be bigger,” Moran says.

He says more people are out this year and taking a new interest in foraging as a result of being self-quarantined.

“There’s more people who want to do it, and learn about it. There’s huge interest, fortunately there’s still lots of asparagus,” he says.

The vegetable begins losing its flavour once it's picked as its sugar turns to starch, making the taste of wild fresh asparagus hard to compare to anything available in the grocery store.

Asparagus seekers are out searching roadsides, open trailsides and other public places for the vegetable, considered a delicacy by many.

It’s important to be aware of your surroundings and avoid trespassing.

A trained eye is sometimes needed to spot the perennial vegetable growing in new grass.The plant is capable of producing for up to 20 years.

Asparagus likes sunny, well-drained areas. It’s not a high maintenance plant, and is considered drought tolerant.

Once the soil gets up to around 10 Celsius, the plant will begin to sprout.

Moran is continuing with small pandemic-friendly classes to help show people how to forage for wild herbs and vegetables, even some mushrooms and of course wild asparagus. If you're not up for foraging on your own, you can find Moran through the Kelowna Farmers Market or you contact him through his Instagram or Facebook page for private sales.  

Foragers beware, as asparagus grows quickly under the right conditions. The clump you missed yesterday may well be past its prime by tomorrow.

For some interesting asparagus recipes, check out this page.


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