One vegetable successfully grown on a small scale in Cornwall is Asparagus.
The British asparagus season typically runs from 1st May and runs for around 7-8 short weeks until the end of June, although growers of Cornish asparagus traditionally harvest their crop first. If it’s been a warm Spring the first bundles of fresh green Cornish asparagus spears may even be cut in mid-April.
The Keelers are the largest growers of this sought-after crop in Cornwall. Husband and wife team John and Jenny Keeler have been farming at Tregassow Farm since 1961 and have mastered the art of asparagus growing for over 10 years. They grow asparagus as a profitable niche crop, on their picturesque 200 acre farm, just a few miles from Truro.
John and Jenny have built up quite a reputation for themselves over the years, for the high calibre of Cornish asparagus they grow at Tregassow Farm. Asparagus is not an easy vegetable to grow, even for the most experienced gardener, and it requires high investment. It is not until the third year of planting the crowns that a full pick can begin.
The Keelers have a team of students from Bulgaria and Romania who arrive each year to pick, grade and pack their asparagus, ready for the wholesalers, farm shops and farmer’s markets in Cornwall.
You can meet John and Jenny at the festival, purchase their fresh asparagus on the day and you can even enjoy an asparagus talk with the Keelers, where they will be sharing tips and techniques for growing, cutting and cooking this fantastic seasonal ingredient at home.