Asparagus officinalis

The blog post is, as is our custom here at Rising Rant’s, the article you can find in the WEEKENDER, just before the ads for “Chicks with dicks.”

Tom Petty wrote:

“The waiting is the hardest part
Every day you get one more yard.
You take it on faith; you take it to the heart
The waiting is the hardest part”

That is the mode we at the Rising Ranch are in now. The waiting, the anticipation. For the asparagus crop to come in.
About a mile from here a man named Dave sells the best asparagus in the free world and possibly in the known and unknown universe from a card table in his front yard. It’s a pain in the ass all the way around wife told me once. Asparagus is a bitch to pick she let me know. He has to lie down prone on a conveyance (I think she said lawn tractor-I didn’t quite get it) and pick the rows by hand. They have a farm in Loyalville. 11 thousand asparagus plants are there. It sounds like a pretty labor intensive effort.

Dave goes through the misery of picking the stuff, then bundles the emerald green tender shoots with rubber bands and puts them in a cooler on top of a block of ice on his rickety card table.

A bunch of plastic bags with green wire ties, a sign that says: “Honor System. $3.50 each” and a small plastic receptacle with the day’s receipts complete the picture. There is usually rhubarb there as well. I ignore that sour stuff and go for the tender shoots of green.

Dave tells me he has never been ripped off. Occasionally someone will leave him more than $3.50 a bunch, lacking change. Once or twice he got an I.O.U. It would seem that asparagus aficionados are an honest bunch. Occasionally when I put my money in the container I see small love notes to Dave, thanking him for growing the vegetables.
You can buy asparagus in the grocery store all year long. It’s probably about the same price. It probably comes from Florida or California. Maybe Mexico. It’s not even nearly the same. Maybe it’s the soil in Loyalville. Dave’s is just better.
I admit asparagus is an acquired taste. Either you like it or you don’t. I hope you don’t. I want all I can get. Plus, it makes your pee stink. Don’t eat it. Vile, yucky stuff! Leave it there. More for me.

Around this time each year when my travels take me by Dave’s place I check for signs of asparagus. Each year Dave, the man who grows the delicious sprouts, tells me he won’t be doing it anymore. Too much work. Not enough return. Each year he relents and we get to enjoy the crisp, tender, but crunchy vegetables of his labors.

Signs warn us that the green stuff is on sale. One by the Huntsville dam and one in front of Dave’s driveway. A close watch is held in the beginning of May. The season is short. Just six weeks or so and by the last part of June there will be no more. Some years it’s even shorter.

I have engaged Dave in conversations a few times in the dozen or more years that I have been putting my money in his plastic box. He has told me that he feels what he does; the magic that he pulls from the ground, washes off and sells in that worn cooler is a more of a public service then a money making venture. I find it hard to argue with that.

This time of year, I must confess that my travels don’t necessarily take me by the place where the asparagus is sold. But I go by anyway. Sometimes several times a week. Just checking. The other day I flashed by only to turn around and take another run at it. I thought I saw Dave hosing off the card table.

I did. It can’t be long now.

ED NOTE: The crop is in as of two days ago-we had $7.00 worth last night, grilled with olive oil and lemon juice. It was heavenly.

Reach Jim at Even more rants are on his blog, updated every day at

The Rant D’Jour is from 2006 and features none other than the voice of reason, Johnny Rotten.

Did you hear about recent (2006) Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction? For the 21 years now the Hall of Fame…more


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About James Rising

A recovering radio addict wrestles with the written word.
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