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Produce Spotlight: Asparagus

Asparagus spears close up

Pick of the Crop

Choose firm, fresh asparagus with tightly closed tips and smooth stems. Both thin and thick asparagus spears can be tender. Spears grow either thin or thick from the ground and do not get thicker with age. Asparagus is rich in nutrients, including folate. Folate is important to help prevent birth defects. Store asparagus in the refrigerator with the ends wrapped in a damp paper towel. Trim the spears before cooking by bending the stalks until they snap. They naturally break where the spears start to get tough. Cook only until the spears are bright in color and still somewhat firm. 


Visit Massachusetts Locally grown featuring recipes for fruits and vegetables grown in Massachusetts and found at most local farmers’ markets.

Fun Facts

  • Asparagus comes in many colors - green, white, and purple. White and green asparagus come from the same plant. If the plant is covered with soil as it grows, it stays white. However, if it grows in the sun, it turns green. 
  • A stalk of asparagus can grow as much as ten inches in one day!
  • Asparagus is a member of the lily family, along with onions and garlic.
  • Asparagus spears grow out of crowns buried in sandy soil. The spears are ready to eat only a few weeks a year. Enjoy this fresh, spring treat while you can!

More Matters! Fruit and Veggie Tips for Parents

  • Dip raw or lightly cooked asparagus spears into low-fat dressing. 
  • Stir-fry chopped asparagus, sliced bell peppers, and sliced onions. Serve with brown rice.
  • Top whole-wheat crackers with chopped asparagus (either raw or cooked). Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella and microwave just until the cheese melts.

A Super Snack Idea

Place three or four asparagus spears and some cheese on a tortilla. Roll it up and enjoy!

Veggie Humor

Question: What kind of vegetable do you need for a flat tire?

Answer: A-spare-agus!