Asparagus at New Park Farm
The Romans brought asparagus to us from the Eastern Mediterranean. We love tradition and 2,000 years on we started growing green asparagus in Groombridge in 1991. Our Tunbridge Wells sand has proven ideal for the crop; hungry land that drains freely. Our rotation includes grassland for a stud farm, which in turn provides us with rich manure.
Here we grow asparagus, strawberries, raspberries and many other bush and top fruits. A small range of selected vegetables completes our offering; we pick/cut in the morning, the produce is on sale in the Farm Shop afternoon.
Asparagus is the first significant crop of the English season. The start date depends on soil temperature; some years we are cutting on St George’s Day, April 23rd. The first two weeks in May we are in full production. We then close our beds around June 21st, mid-summers day, to allow the crowns to recover for the following year.
Our own term that distinguishes our green asparagus from the white asparagus grown in mainland Europe. Our temperate climate allows the asparagus to emerge slowly into the sunlight, to turn green and to develop a delicate flavour.
Kent Asparagus Varieties
As we cut our own asparagus, we are able to offer all sorts of sizes and qualities to suit different tastes.
The best, thickest spears are not always the most tender. The “sprue”, pictured here is thin and very tender. Comparable with wild asparagus, this has a strong flavour and is good as a side vegetable, combined with a pasta or tossed in a salad. There is very little waste.
Asparagus can be cooked in a variety of ways, the most popular is steamed for 8-9 minutes and then dressed with a small amount of Hollandaise. All accompanying sauces, locally made, are available from the farm shop.
We are moving toward a chemical free asparagus regime, using new techniques promoted in this country and abroad.
We no longer sell crowns at Groombridge Farm Shop. If you wish to plant your own, plant in the spring with crowns that are at least 100g in weight. You can buy these online from a specialist plant retailer. We don't recommend buying sealed packets from garden centres.
If you have good growth in the first year, cut your asparagus for two weeks the year after and then let it “go to fern”. Thereafter you will enjoy it for many years to come.
Green Asparagus Vs White Asparagus
New Park Farm grows green asparagus which you can buy at Groombridge Farm Shop.
Green asparagus is allowed to grow through the soil and it photosynthesises, turning green in sunlight. White asparagus is grown on high ridges and cut below ground with long knives. It is much prized in Germany and France as much for its texture as its flavour. Our temperate climate enables us to grow the best asparagus in the world, albeit there are many seasonal variations that we have to cope with!
Tunbridge Wells sand is a free draining soil that allows the roots to flourish; it needs nurturing and our rotation allows us to do this as we rotate the beds around the farm.
The History of Asparagus in Kent
How did we end up as an asparagus farm in Kent? That tale begins 2,000 years ago when the Roman’s invaded.
The Roman’s cultivated asparagus in the Eastern Mediterranean and brought the crop with them when they invaded Northern Europe and the UK. European colonists then took asparagus to North and South America.
While it is now possible to have year-round asparagus production, we make sure the farm shop only stocks seasonal produce. Why? Because this is the best way to deliver sustainable food near to the source. And the shop can’t get any closer to our asparagus farm!