It takes three years from seed to harvest, however, a asparagus plant may live more than 15 years. China is the largest producer of asparagus growing on more than 140,000 acres of farms. The next closest competitor is Peru with 66,700 acres of production. The United States ranks fifth (35,000 acres) virtually all of which is in California, Washington and Michigan. The emperor Caesar Augustus was such a connoisseur of the elegant vegetable, he organized elite military units to procure it for him. The famed Asparagus Fleets made rounds in the empire to import the best varietals back to Rome, while the fastest runners were employed to carry fresh spears high in the Alps, where it could be frozen for later use.
National Escargot Day
May 24 (last Friday in April)
Humans have consumed snails for thousands of years. They are low in fat and high in water and proteins. Heliciculture is the practice of snail farming for the purpose of earmarking them for human use, mostly as food. According to the Roman historian Pliny, the Elder, heliciculture was practiced in what is now Italy as far back as 50 AD. Today, in France, snails are commonly known by the French word “Escargot.” Some believe that snails for eating arrived in the United States (California) in the 1850’s by immigrants. Worldwide, the total consumption of snails in 2014 was estimated around 450,000 tons and represented more than 12 billion dollars in sales.
Today’s Birthdays of Note….
Bob Dylan – Singer – born in Duluth, Minnesota
Patti LaBelle – Singer – born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania