Ever since we broke ground on our first backyard garden in Baltimore, I have wanted to plant asparagus. But asparagus, tender and crisp and one of the first fleeting signs of spring, takes a prohibitively long time to cultivate as an apartment dweller. Over the years we’ve had gardens in front yards, backyards, pots, and on kitchen counters. We’ve grown herbs and vegetables and even tried our hand at small orchards in pots (all with varying degrees of success), but I’ve always yearned for a kitchen garden that I could make my own, that I could invest time and energy in over the course of years. Thankfully I have that opportunity now, in a yard that I can finally call my own.
I have big plans for the garden at our new house, but haven’t yet broken ground. But my dreams! They’re big! I’m thinking of building the beds in the front yard, since that gets the best consistent light. I want tomatoes, so many tomatoes, and peppers, garlic, and kale, and, of course, asparagus. I want a garden we can rotate throughout the seasons, something that can provide food for our table and a little peace for my mind.
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Tonight’s dinner was borne of my spring fantasies. Spring has finally, gleefully sprung here in Wilmington. The azaleas have painted the town shades of pink, the dogwoods are in full bloom, and everything is coated in a thin layer of yellow pollen. The local farmer’s market opened this past weekend and with it came the first crops of berries and asparagus. The berries were gone the instant our son Everett got his hands on them, but the asparagus made its way into dinner, lightly steamed with lemon and served over parmesan grits with buttery mushrooms and steak charred in a hot skillet.
Click here for Elena Rosemond-Hoerr’s recipe for Parmesan Grits with Asparagus & Charred Steak recipe
Elena Rosemond-Hoerr is a Southern food writer, photographer, and cookbook author based in Wilmington, North Carolina.