By Chrystal Smith (USAG Wiesbaden)May 21, 2009
WIESBADEN, Germany - "I'm going to go out and pick some Spargel."
That's what Leslie Suddeth and 20 other Wiesbaden Community Spouses Club members did May 13 at the Bauer Lipp farm in Weiterstadt, Germany.
"I thought I'd try it," said Suddeth, an Atlanta, Ga., native who added that she participated in an earlier outing with the group in the fall of 2008. "I never had a chance to go and pick anything. I went grape picking (with the WCSC) and loved it. That's why I decided to come Spargel picking."
The group convoyed out, received a brief lesson in harvesting the German version of asparagus, enjoyed a traditional meal and carried away pounds of the peculiar vegetable to enjoy at home with their families.
"I have just enough to feed my husband," said Janet Lundquist whose family has been in Wiesbaden about one year. "He had been bugging me about stopping at one of those stands. ... I said, 'honey I'm going to go pick you some.'"
While some engaged in the task of picking Spargel for the pleasure of others, some were there to pacify their own desires.
"I love white Spargel, so I was really working hard," said Unchong Gilstrap, who was observed with the day's largest Spargel harvest. "I never thought it was such hard work. ... I didn't know Spargel was hiding under there."
Once the work was done, it was off to get a taste of what the spouses had spent a couple of hours harvesting.
"The work makes this part all the more enjoyable. It makes you appreciate every bite," said Christine Havlik, who said the Spargel trip is one of the favorite outings for the spouse's club.
For x20 each participant received a morning starter meal that included Spargel appetizers, an English-guided tour which included the Lipp farm and Spargel history, lunch and the right to all that was reaped.
"This is great. Now I have breakfast, lunch and dinner," said Gilstrap. "It's worth more than 20 euros."
And though one can find frozen varieties of albino asparagus in stores year-round, it is recommended it be consumed while it is in season.
"It's best to eat Spargel between April and June while it's fresh," said Andrea Lipp, tour guide and family member of the so-named farm that holds an annual festival that runs from mid-May to mid-June, and whose yellow huts with fresh produce can be seen throughout the Rhein-Main area.
And while the novice palette may not distinguish a difference in the taste among the colors, the colorless is the one most locals prefer.
"All Germans thought it was so delicious that we will only eat the white ones," said Lipp, who said it is more of a beauty contest when the vegetable is sorted to sell and for preparation to consume.
Bauer Lipp welcomes groups of 15 or more to visit the farm to learn about Spargel during the season. Inquirers should send email to firstname.lastname@example.org to make a reservation. Visit the company's website at www.Bauer-Lipp.de for more information about Spargel, festival dates and activities.