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A farm near Bridgnorth has welcomed an early crop of asparagus – after the warm weather encouraged the shoots to pop through earlier than normal.
The British asparagus season usually runs from St Georges Day April 25th to Mid Summers Day June 21 – but the shoots are already available in local shops. And restaurants from across the region are snapping up supplies so that they can keep seasonal food on their menus.
Peepo Pizzeria, in High Street, Bridgnorth, has created an Asparagus Easter Pizza, while the Boyne Arms, at Burwarton, has also added it to the menu so that customers can enjoy the best of local-seasonal food. Restaurants from further afield are also rushing to buy the first green shoots. Turners, the Michelin-starred venue in Harborne, in Birmingham, is among a number of fine dining restaurants to buy supplies.
RT Lee & Son, near Quatt, on the outskirts of Bridgnorth, are hoping for a bumper crop because growing conditions have been perfect. Today farmer Caroline Hulland (Previously Lee) said she would harvest a huge number of shoots during the next few months. She said: “We’ve been growing asparagus for many years and we employ 14 workers. The crop is harvested using kitchen knives and we get through an incredible 1,500 during the season. The crop this year is earlier than most – though, in fact, it is slightly later than last year. The warm weather has given the shoots a spurt of energy and they’ve come through already. Adding “The key date is autumn and winter, when the crop is dormant. That is when the asparagus crowns store water, ready to burst into life the following spring.”
Mrs Hulland added that the farm was also celebrating the arrival of a new generation. She hopes her new son, Joshua, will become the Lee family’s fourth generation to tend the land at Quatt.