Spring spears


Illustration by SARAH HANSEL

It may still be full-on winter elsewhere, but here in Northern California, it’s spring. You can tell because the first local asparagus of the season is in the markets. They’re the thinnest of tender stalks right now, just perfect for a brief kiss of heat and some lemon and butter. Asparagus is native to the Mediterranean, so it’s no wonder the plant enjoys our similar climate. While you’ll find mostly green spears locally, there may be some purple and white varieties on offer. The white are simply deprived of light, giving them a more delicate flavor.