Hunt For Asparagus Much Easier Than Walking Through Woods Looking For Mushrooms

Hoosier Perspectives

My success rate goes up when I look for the long, slender spears instead of hide-and-seek morels.

Published on: April 17, 2012

OK, maybe it is like shooting fish in a barrel. Yes, I know where I planted the asparagus plants about 10 years ago. So yes, I have a general idea of where the fresh asparagus shoots will come up each year. But that really doesn't bother me. The biggest picking of asparagus I've ever had in my garden came the day before Easter this year. As I was crawling around picking off spear after spear, I couldn't help but think, "Man, this is so much easier than chasing after mushrooms in the woods!"

Say hunting for asparagus is a lazy person's imitation of hunting for mushrooms if you like, but I've done my share of mushroom hunting. My eyes still aren't trained to find them, after several seasons of walking the woods with people who can find them. Asparagus spears, on the other hand, are much easier to spot. They may be curled up, they be thin or they be thick, but they're going to be in the general vicinity of where I planted them.

And there are other advantages. Asparagus will come back every year as long as you take care of it. The first couple of years I didn't pick many spears, instead letting most grow up and put the energy back in its roots. Now I get a healthy crop every year. There's only a couple places to look- the two places where I planted those original rootstocks many years ago. I walk about 100 feet to the garden and 50 feet from one patch to the next. That beats walking two miles for a measly sack of mushrooms.

Plus, I know the asparagus isn't poisonous. I've never worried about winding up with poisonous morels, since I've always gone with people I've known have hinted for years, but the poisonous pones are out there. I haven't died from eating asparagus yet.

I did get sick after eating morels once, but I think it had a lot more to do with gorging myself on a big batch of fried morels after eating a huge plate of spaghetti than anything inside the mushrooms. That was the end of eating fresh mushrooms. I've hunted them since then, but I always give the few that I find to someone else. Domestic mushrooms are still on my favorite list, but not the wild morels.

There are so many ways to cook asparagus too. You can broil it, pan fry it, cut it up and mix it with bread crumbs and hard-boiled eggs in a casserole- my favorite- all yummy. If you don't try eating asparagus, you're really missing out.

So what do you see? Anybody up for hunting asparagus? I've got the patch,. But just like mushrooms, spears started appearing about two weeks earlier than normal this year. So the season will probably end earlier than normal too. It may be hard to find new spears this year after the first of May. Until then, I'll be hunting asparagus and enjoying nature all the same- just in my garden, not the middle of the woods.