Home and Garden Guide

How to Pick Asparagus

Helpful tips for harvesting this springtime veggie


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Photograph by Joshua Holz

A harbinger of spring, asparagus is one of the first vegetables to sprout each year. Depending on weather conditions, its local growing season runs from late April through June. Both Greig Farm in Red Hook and Kelder’s Farm in Kerhonkson allow customers to pick their own stalks.

Here are some tips on how to choose and pick asparagus:

  • Look for stalks from male plants. How to tell the difference? Female plants have red berry-like seeds; male plants produce spears that are longer and more desirable.
  • Harvest stems when they are between five and eight inches in length, and about as thick as your finger.
  • Look for tips that haven’t yet started to open. Open tips mean that the stalk will be tougher.
  • Cut or break spears as close as possible to the fibrous roots. Be careful not to disturb any new shoots growing nearby.
  • Refrigerate fresh asparagus as soon as possible. Keep in a sealed plastic bag if using immediately, or place stalks in a glass of water on your fridge shelf; the stalks will stay fresh for five to seven days.

Recipe: How to Make Savory Spring Crostata with Asparagus

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