This morning, just as I was getting ready to tell you how there really isn't much going on the vineyard right now, Walt came back from his morning walk with Callie holding a huge bunch of green asparagus. He had picked them at various places around the vineyard.
These are not spears of wild asparagus. They are escapees, I think, of the domesticated variety. I'm not sure how they got into the vineyard parcels, growing among the rows of grapevines. Maybe the land was used to grow asparagus at some point in the past, before it was replanted in vines. Or maybe birds or breezes spread asparagus seeds out there. Asparagus is a major crop in this part of the Loire Valley.
We've been gradually finding and keeping track of more and more spots where asparagus comes up spontaeously in the spring. Nobody else seems to be interested in it. We probably visit the vineyard more frequently and regularly than anybody else, including the people who own the land, grow the grapes, and make and sell the wine.
We will start getting the locally grown white asparagus this weekend. So far, the few stalks available have been too expensive — as much as 10 € a kilogram — and we know the price will come down signficantly once the crop really starts to come in. I bet we'll find good white asparagus at the market in Saint-Aignan next Saturday for 5 to 6 € a kilo — $3.00 lb., approximately.
But as I was saying, there's not an awful lot going on out in the vineyard right now, at least on a visible level. Nobody is working in the vines. We've seen just a few tractors over the past weeks, and Walt did run into our neighbors the Guerriers out there last week — they are a two-person operation, and they always seem to be late getting their work done, pruning and spraying days or weeks after everybody else has finished.
But of course a lot is going on under the ground. It rained last night, so the vines are soaking up moisture. And if you look closely, you can see the first leaves forming. It won't be long before what is for the time being fairly barren-looking will become a wide sea of green.
Everything is late this year. We had a long cold winter. Springtime has some catching up to do. I was glad it rained last night, because I tilled up a couple more garden plots yesterday. We might plant some chard and other greens this week.