Asparagus is thought to be one of springtime’s finest food, as such, harvest is celebrated on national ‘Asparagus Days in Sweden’ and this year it is taking place 21 to 22 May. There are a number of food festivals throughout the month, Gotland in particular, with its unique microclimate, is the source of many asparagus growers. Traditionally it was only white asparagus grown in Sweden, hence why many cookbook recipes state white, however green is now just as popular as it is easier to grow. Although Swedish grown asparagus is considered quite an expensive food due to how difficult it is to grow during the short season of three to four weeks, the bitter-sweet, grassy crunch of a lightly steamed Swedish asparagus spear is delightful.

The people of Sweden celebrate the asparagus harvest the same time as we do here at home. On 28 May in Woodbridge there will be a ‘New Seasonal Local Asparagus and Strawberry Market’ selling gorgeous fresh local produce. This weekend will truly mark that summer is on its way, hurrah! When buying asparagus, freshness is paramount as the flavour decreases rapidly once harvested. The stalk to tip should be firm, as with most cut plants, asparagus dries from the base upwards so for full flavour eat at its best within three days of harvest.

We love fresh asparagus and feel so lucky it is available from so many local Suffolk farm shops and home growers. There is nothing quite so delicious as a simple dish of early season fresh asparagus barbecued on the beach. Prepare lunch before leaving home using one of our simple and timeless Hampson Wood chopping boards. Be assured these boards are made from ethically sound wood and will last a lifetime or longer. Trim the asparagus and pop in a bag, add and shake in sea salt, black pepper, olive oil, crushed garlic. Cook on the barbecue and serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon; lovely at this time of year with a salad, what a gorgeous family lunch! Another favourite dish is to gently steam asparagus to perfection and drizzle with a homemade dressing of hollandaise sauce, serve with a piece of pan-fried local fish; lovely spring evening supper to share with friends, so fresh and so simple. Serve on a stylish House Doctor stoneware platter in white and pale grey stripe. Enjoy!

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