Fresh picked Washington Asparagus is popping up out of the ground and into your local stores. Here in the Pacific Northwest now is the peak of the season for fresh Washington Asparagus. The excellent growing climate and rich soil makes Washington State the largest grower of asparagus in the United States. If you are driving through eastern Washington you will see workers cutting asparagus by hand daily.
Here are a few storage tips once you bring home your fresh asparagus. They are very thirsty and like wet feet. Store stalks upright in a bowl or tall jar with an inch of water and place in refrigerator. If you do not have room just wrap the cut ends in a moist paper towel, cover with plastic and refrigerate.
Here are some Facts about Washington Asparagus:
- Washington State is the largest grower of asparagus in the United States.
- The largest domestic producers are currently Washington, Michigan, and California, in that order.
- There are about 80 Washington asparagus farmers within a 100-mile radius of Washington’s Tri-Cities.
- Washington asparagus is produced on roughly 5,000 acres spanning the Columbia Basin, the Yakima Valley and the Walla Walla area.
- Asparagus takes approximately two years from planting to harvestable maturity.
- Asparagus can grow as much as 10 inches in one day in peak season.
- Asparagus plants are very long-lived, and can last up to 25 years. Asparagus plants have been known to live for 100 years.
1 bunch Washington Asparagus (about 12-16 oz) ends trimmed
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 sheets frozen puff pastry thawed
8 ounces Swiss cheese, shredded
12 slices ham, sliced thin
1 egg beaten
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry out to a large rectangle about double the original size. Square off edges and cut into 6 squares. (I use a pizza cutter to do this)
Toss asparagus in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
To make the bundles, place slice of ham on top of the square. Follow with 3-4 stalks of asparagus (depending on size) and 1-2 TBSP of the Swiss cheese.
Lift two opposite corners of the puff pastry squares and wrap them around the asparagus and press to seal. Brush puff pastry with egg wash. Sprinkle with more salt and pepper if desired.
Bake until puff pastry is golden and puffed, about 12-15 minutes. Serve immediately.