In May 2017, a group of bloggers and I had a chance to visit Norfolk County to learn all about asparagus farming. The tour was organized by Foodies on Foot; a Canadian food events and promotions company.
In less than 2 minutes, see what it is like to be at an asparagus farm. Like what you see? Please comment on the video on YouTube, subscribe to my channel, and share the video. Thank you!
Our day started out at Ryder Farms in Norfolk County where owners Jacklynn and Jason Ryder talked to us about asparagus farming including all the challenges that go into growing the crop. In a 24 hour period, an asparagus shoot can grow up to 10 inches and has to be harvested. That means there is a lot of monitoring and daily harvesting during prime season. If the shoot was not harvested at a specific height, it would grow into tall ferns.
Next, we visited Norfolk County’s beautiful Burning Kiln Winery, where we were split into 3 teams to compete for the best dish featuring asparagus. Judges for the competition included Jacklynn Ryder from Ryder Farms; Bernie Solmár, the Executive Director from the Asparagus Farmers of Ontario; and Ted Willy, the Business Development Coordinator for Norfolk County. Our appetites were satisfied with an asparagus themed lunch accompanied with Burning Kiln wine, before we headed back to the #asparabus (Asparagus bus). Each of us left with a generous bag full of local products from Norfolk County, Norfolk swag, and a pound of asparagus!
The best part of my day was sharing my experience with my younger sister who happened to be visiting from England. Our tour bus was not only filled with asparagus lovers, we had a blast doing asparagus trivia, music trivia and karaoke (I love to sing!). Steven Hellman, the founder of Foodies on Foot is awesome and one heck of an organizer! Do check out all the quality food tours from Foodies on Foot!
I will leave you with some asparagus fun facts:
- Norfolk County is the asparagus capital of Canada. The climate and soil (well drained and sandy) in Norfolk County is perfect for growing asparagus, and they grow more asparagus than any other region in Canada.
- Asparagus have male and female varieties. Ryder Farm grows the male variety, and not female (for reproduction).
- There are 3 different coloured asparagus including green, white and purple.
- The name “asparagus” comes from the Greek language meaning “sprout” or “shoot”.
- The biggest asparagus producing countries are China, Peru, Mexico, Germany, Thailand and Spain, with Canada ranking 16th place.
- Asparagus has only 4 calories per spear.
- Asparagus is a great source of Vitamins including Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K calcium, magnesium, folic acid, iron, and potassium.
- Asparagus makes pee stinky as a result of sulfurous amino acids in the asparagus that are released during digestion.
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I have always loved asparagus and it is staple in my household in the spring and summer. Asparagus season in Ontario is May and June, so eat up!
*Disclosure: My tour with food and drinks complimentary. The post is not sponsored and all opinions are my own.