At first I was excited when I found out that much of the asparagus found on grocery store shelves in the US is “Product of Peru”. Just take a look next time you’re in the produce department, chances are those yummie green asparagus will be wrapped in a blue-ish purple elastic band stamped “Product of Peru”. I used to be happy to see that, because unlike our South American neighbor Chile – which exports lots of wine and grapes – you don’t see hardly any Peruvian products in overseas stores.
Peru has very little arable land due to it’s climate and geography but there are multiple micro-climates in the varying elevations of the Andes mountains. As a result, Peru produces a variety of excellent fresh foods, such as avocados, coffee, it’s famous purple corn, potatoes, etc.
When I first moved to Peru I used to pick up a package of delicious fresh asparagus (they are so much yummier when fresh) practically once a week but lately I hardly ever see asparagus in our local grocery store any more. Since Peru signed several free-trade agreements in the past few years – with China and the U.S. – I’ve heard grumblings that too much of the best Peruvian products are exported and not enough is left for domestic consumption. The same is said of course of the natural gas that Peru produces.
Truth is I have no idea when the season for asparagus is and what the true reason is for the lack of asparagus at our “Mega” store, but just in case please stop eating asparagus for a month or so :)
Fresh asparagus are great with many meals, one of my favorites is pasta with my famous home-made pasta sauce and side of asparagus:
Like any good kid Brianna isn’t too keen on eating her vegetables, but she likes papi’s homemade pasta sauce:
Before you ask, here’s the recipe for my famous homemade pasta sauce:
STEP 1: Go to store and buy favorite pasta sauce.
STEP 2: Add meat of choice, lots of fresh tomatoes and beer – preferably something good like Cerveza Cusqueña.
STEP 3: What, you think I’m a chef or something? There is no step 3. Eat and enjoy!
As for preparing the asparagus, I boil them in salted water for about 5 minutes and then stir-fry them in a pan with butter, salt and pepper. Listo!
Agriculture, by-the-way, is making a huge comeback worldwide. Farmland is fetching record prices in the Midwest and Canada. I was recently in Saskatchewan, Canada – which is another whole story – where farm fields are a mile square or bigger and a friend-of-a-friend who farms 4,000 acres or so told us business is booming.
I’m proud of the fact that my grandparents were farmers and my father (and his brother) continued to take care of the farm after his parents retired. Occasionally I see ranches advertised for sale in some areas of lower elevation near Cuzco, so if you’re interested in becoming an avocado farmer in Peru, just shoot me a message :)