Spring Brings Out Indiana Traditions

Hoosier Perspectives

Fruits of the garden spring up this time of year.

Published on: May 10, 2010

Use the downtime between rains to soak up the fruits of spring in Indiana. If you don't have them growing in your own garden, you probably has a neighbor that does. As a last resort, you might be able to buy them, at a farmer's market or at a sort, but you miss the taste and the fun of picking and fixing these treats yourself.

First there's asparagus. Once you get these patches started, they'll keep producing for years, whether you want them to or not. Mine have been at it now for at least a decade. I let some of the early stalks to got seed. That's supposed to help them put down reserves for next winter. Beats me if it does or not. Truth is that even if I check it every other day, there's usually a stretch where I forget, and some of it gets ahead of me. It's too woody to use. So I tell people I let it go on purpose. It sounds like I really know what I'm doing. if I really did I probably wouldn't have grass growing up in it and two different types of wild bushes trying to claim part of the patch. But there's still plenty for me. I've probably harvested 15 to 20 pounds so far this year.

I read on the Internet this week that asparagus is supposed to be some miracle cure for cancer. Naturally, believe anything on the internet at your own risk. I certainly don't want it or wont eat it more because it's a cancer-fighter. If so, it's all that much better. If not, I still like the taste of this special Indiana vegetable that sprouts up from the roots each spring. My wife likes to broil up long spores. I try to make sure she makes my favorite, an asparagus casserole with a creamy sauce and boiled eggs sliced up in it, at least once per season.

Then there's rhubarb. An assistant principal at our local school, he's been there some 35 years, got a start from my parents place before they moved last year. He's a rhubarb nut. And he also loves to cook. So I find reasons to stop by school this time of year about lunch time at least once or twice. He makes a mean rhubarb pie- with just enough of that tart taste but yet sweet enough to enjoy.

He's promised me a pie now for three weeks. Of course, his sidelight career is as an auctioneer. So maybe I'll get that pie and maybe not. He's delivered in the past, though, and he can bake pies with any grandmother I've ever encountered.

Some lady the other day was already talking about raspberries and blackberries. Apparently she has several patches growing wild in her fence rows. They're great to eat, but I'll pass on picking them. The last time I did, some 15 years ago, I got more chigger bites and poison ivy than I did blackberries. If someone else picks them, I'll help eat the pie, of course.