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Spring Spears Forever

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Written by Phil Ottman


Even on a year like this when the warmer times of harvest season seem like they might never arrive, asparagus still makes its early appearance. For a lover of those crisp fresh spears it cannot come too soon.

Steamed until almost soft, asparagus complements most meals. Whether to top with a creamy cheese sauce is as much a matter of personal taste as choosing a few select spears to enjoy au naturel in their fresh, raw state. There is no better spring delight than snapping off crisp spears and get viagra now chomping away in the instructions purchase viagra in budapest garden.

The biggest problem with enjoying asparagus is that the season ends quickly. One solution is to preserve those crisp green stalks in canning jars. Freezing, another option, results in a dining experience that can be almost as good as steaming from fresh raw.

At the Ketcheson family farm just north of cheap cialis india Frankford, Ontario, 89 and 85-year-old Jack and Betty Ketcheson have been passionately producing asparagus since their “retirement” project got underway in 1985. Their first field is still producing 23 years later.

“Once you’ve got it, you’ve got it,” said Ketcheson explaining their choice of asparagus as a crop. The fact that the soil was sandy and prone to drought also played into their crop decision. Though production is somewhat sparser after all these years the low slung, triple-seat, picking vehicle takes the walking, stooping and squatting out of the picking process.

In the early years they had a stand at Stirling’s gas bar at Hwy. 33, but soon loyal customers and word-of-mouth referrals made that extra measure unnecessary.

“We wanted a place to keep our hands in the soil,” reflects Jack Ketcheson. He and his wife have been very happy with their venture. Having started with an initial stint at the University of Guelph to help his father maximize their soil management, Ketcheson went on to earn his Ph.D. and a full career with the university as a soil agronomist.

“The customers love it. It’s the people,” explains Betty Ketcheson as their reason for continuing to grow asparagus.

“It’s sort of kept our family together,” says Jack Ketcheson. The month of May has always been a time for sharing tasks. The Ketcheson’s daughter Ann and her husband Peter live at the farm for the viagra pills month, and their son Larry brings his two children for weekends to help out.

“Every one of those spears is handled about four times,” said Ketcheson. They pick, wash, refrigerate, and finally, bag the spears for the customer. Over half of their crop sells in five-pound bags with the rest going out in one-pound bunches and jars.

The Ketchesons offer a preserved product with dill and viagra generic now follow link on with the complement of hot pepper. Customers at the farm are given an opportunity to taste samples of both styles, and to take home a free copy of the family recipe.

These tall slender jars of asparagus are a great way for people to extend the tastes of spring to the rest of the year.


5 lbs. Fresh Ontario Asparagus
6 cloves garlic
6 tsp. dill seed
6 tsp. mustard seed
36 peppercorns
8 cups water
2 ½ cups white vinegar
3 tbsp. pickling salt
1/2 cup white sugaralt 6 pint jars

Wash asparagus and cut to jar length.  Place ½ clove garlic, 1 tsp. dill seed, 1 tsp. mustard seed and 5 peppercorns in bottom of each freshly sterilized jar. Place asparagus in jars with tips up. Bring water, vinegar, salt and sugar to a boil and cover asparagus. Seal jars and invert to cool.

By Phil Ottman


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