A tale of two asparagus
"Asparagus the First" is harvested by a migrant labourer working for one of 50 large landholding corporations that control 95% of Peru’s export asparagus market (Interestingly enough, there is virtually no domestic market for asparagus in Peru as it’s not a native species there and has yet to make inroads into Peruvian cuisine). Trucked to Trujillo, Asparagus the First gets sprayed down with Methyl Bromide, a colourless and odourless gas that depletes the ozone layer and is strictly controlled by the Montreal Protocol (USDA 2010, Peru: An Emerging Exporter of Fruits and Vegetables). Asparagus the First then hops aboard a North American bound jet and travels some 5721km to arrive in Toronto where it’s trucked off to the Toronto food terminal, and from there to the central distribution centres of national grocers and from there, well you get the picture. Asparagus the First logs a lot of miles. Asparagus the First is available year round.
Asparagus Number 2 is harvested by Rick and Mary Mazak and their children in nearby Talboltville. The spears are cleaned and weighed and hop aboard the On the Move Organics converted bus for their 25.8 km journey back to the London Farmer’s Market. There’s no ozone depleting spraying and no absurd air travel. Asparagus Number 2, however, is available for a limited time. A perennial vegetable, it's only available locally in the spring. Enjoy it while its available!
What asparagus will grace your plate this spring?