A feeling that our market may be just a little too Common..


Green asparagus seems to be a rarity in our part of France which surprises me as it features on the menus of many local restaurants at this time of year whilst, in the shops, it remains as rare as an interesting conversation about the election. It may be that our bucolic little corner of France is so deeply rustic that, in the infuriating policyspeak of the retailer, “there is no call for it”. I have called loudly for it, but answer was there none.The best that one can hope for is to grab one of the few bundles of green spears that appear, momentarily, among the piles of fat and pallid sex toys known as white asparagus. Maybe this part of the Common Market is too common for the delicacy of fine, green asparagus, although I’m pretty sure that the word “common” is not in favour with the politically correct. “Posh” is, but “common” isn’t. A good example of would be “Posh Spice” as opposed to “Slightly Less Common Spice”, the latter being positively proscribed….do not go there. Moving on; when one is lucky enough to fall upon a bunch of the green stuff there is, in this season,  the added pleasure of knowing that, nearby, will be piles of the most delicious young potatoes from the Île de Noirmoutier. Potatoes such as these make perfect partners for green asparagus, particularly if gobs of melting, sweet butter are included in the equation…these flavours trumpet the arrival of Spring and bring a smile to my face.

About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
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50 Responses to A feeling that our market may be just a little too Common..

  1. Mad Dog says:

    I’m very much looking forward to asparagus, but it will be another month before there’s any local stuff here. I’m not counting the supermarket stuff, that comes from countries far too far away and who knows how long the English stuff has been in the supermarket chain. I believe carrots can be picked and processed with a view to being on the shelves in 18 months time 😦

  2. Are you calling loudly enough Roger? Like Mad, am awaiting asparagus season – not long now!

  3. Interesting. White asparagus is much more expensive in Japan with green ones being more common. However these big green ones I just wrote about, you would have to go and look.

  4. Gosh, I love green asparagus. I’d be lost without it at the market.

  5. Running down the back to check our asparagus patch poste haste! we have rain and warm today! No potatoes yet though, that won’t be for a while as they are not even in the ground.. c

  6. There is plenty of green asparagus at the farmer’s markets here in California but it is almost impossible to get any white asparagus. I much prefer the white stalks over the green ones.

  7. ardysez says:

    It’s probably not really necessary that I say we have no white asparagus in Alice Springs. We do get green asparagus year round however–but this is not a good thing as most of the year it is imported. I only buy it when it is Australian grown in the early spring. The rest of it can be from South America or wherever, and is tasteless. Enjoy a spear or six for me, will you? Love the baby potatoes too, are they called ‘chats’ anywhere but here?

    • You have my sympathy. So much asparagus that is grown in far off countries seems to be tasteless. I think that it loses its flavour in storage and in transit…it needs to be eaten as fresh as possible. As for “chats”…I’ve never heard that before…:)

  8. I guess I could propose a tradr for our green stuff for some of your cheese, or for that matter, almost any other food stuff….I am surprised! 🙂

  9. Eha says:

    Admit to a peculiar sense of humour! Completely as an aside I feel about 95% of people have no idea of the derivation of the acronym POSH or its true meaning 🙂 ! Have had some wicked fun re that short blessed word when I say I do hope I am a little bit POSH !!! Oh, and I DO love white asparagus: it was oft served on our yearly spring fair trips in Northern Germany and I would honestly have it on a daily basis . . .

    • They love their white asparagus, the Germans..that’s for sure. I did a TV commercial for a Maggi Hollandaise sauce and had to go to Nestle, in Frankfurt for a briefing. They explained that the Germans ate it with white asparagus and that a normal serving would be 6 big spears of white asparagus, 6 boiled potatoes and 2 slices of Black Forest ham….makes me wonder how Britain became the the 2nd fattest nation on the planet:)

      • Eha says:

        🙂 ! The ‘elegant’ restaurant serving: the six spears, usually no potatoes unless it is the main course and very thinly sliced Westphalian ham – I use the dried Italian ones here. Not too kilojoule rich that way 😀 !!! But most of our asparagus does happen to be green . . .

      • I guess Nestle wasn’t aiming at the “elegant” market:)

  10. I have been used to white asparagus back in Germany, which is really hard to get here in Southern California. Got used to green asparagus , love it now. Sometimes I just place it in the oven with olive oil, fresh garlic, pepper and salt and let it bake until crisp.

  11. I reallybelieve that if you keep asking for it – maybe while waving around some sweet butter in the manner of many French politicians 🙂 – there will be more asparagus!

  12. platedujour says:

    Green one is my favorite, I don’t fancy the white one for some reason. I can see the weather is getting better- it was really cold in Lyon this time! Fabulous picture!

  13. margaret21 says:

    You’ll have to move southwards in France then. Where we were, the green stuff is as widely available as the white, but being less highly regarded, is significantly cheaper. Result!

  14. Asparagus and taters for sure… and maybe with a nice piece of fish and some salsa verde… Amen brother!

  15. Fresh asparagus + new potatoes + “gobs of melting sweet butter” = quelle joie! Thanks for the reminder. I’ll be shopping at French markets in two weeks and the countdown is on!

  16. Sally says:

    I was never that keen on white asparagus but now a mental image which ensures that I will never put one in my mouth ever again!

  17. Michelle says:

    I’ll not soon forget the description of “pallid sex toys known as white asparagus.” Hilarious. There are few food things the French get wrong, but that’s one of them. Why ruin such a lovely vegetable by covering it up and keeping it from turning green?

  18. Angeline M says:

    Hating to rub it in, we have tons of green asparagus already in our markets, locally grown here in Northern California (right there by those artichokes I told you about before). Right now they are thin, but we should soon be getting nice fat ones. Thanks for the great idea of the addition of potatoes. I generally roast the asparagus with olive oil, garlic salt and pepper, but the butter sounds like much more fun.

  19. I am reading your conversations and am delighted. I did not know that you picked the vegetable and the vitamin content starts to deplete. It makes sense. I will be eating fresh veggies fresher – quicker than before. Now that I know. Thx

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