You can’t really know a product well if you don’t know the territory in which it grows and you never saw its production line. On occasion of the 51a Mostra dell’Asparago di Badoere, the 51st Badoere Asparagus Festival, I spent a day with other bloggers/instagrammers, a day entirely dedicated to asparagus, thanks to the invitation of the communication agency Zeta Group. These asparagus in Italian are called Asparagi di Badoere igp.
Badoere is a small town in the province of Treviso. It is mostly famous for two things: one is indeed the asparago, and the other one is the so called Rotonda, which was our meeting point.
La Rotonda di Badoere
The Rotonda consists of two long hemispherical arcades, barchesse, dating back to 1600. On one side, there once were shops and workshops. On the other, the farmers houses. In the centre, the market square: piazza Indipendenza, the core of the town. The most original part are without a doubt the shops: they were 41, one for each of the arcades. Adjacent to the complex, the small church of Saint Anthony of Padua.
They were all part of villa Badoer, destroyed in 1920 by a fire, started by some farmers during a riot. They were protesting against the owner because of the poor contract.
The importance of the land
The characteristics of the land and the water of the nearby river are fundamental for this veggy. There will no Asparagi di Badoere igp without the resurgence waters. Asparagus here are so good precisely thanks to the type of land. A floodplain surrounded by resurgence rivers. The asparago di Badoere igp is only growth in 15 municipalities of the Treviso, Padua and Venice province. The river Sile and its tributary rivers, Dese and Zero, create the perfect habitat for the turioni, the so called asparagus sprouts. That’s why we first went cycling on to the the springs of the river Sile, which is the longest resurgence river in Europe.
Have you ever seen the springs of a resurgence river? It’s quite peculiar. The underground waters, coming from the pre-Alps, emerge when they meet clay banks. There, you see, among the clear water, some holes, some tiny swirls. It’s the water springing up from the underground. There is not a unique spring, but a lot of them, here and there in the area between Vedelago and Casacorba. No one is considered “the” main spring, but all of them form the river Sile.
We went to the one called Fontanasso dea Coa Longa, Fountain of the long tail, in Casacorba di Vedelago, just 7km from the Rotonda. It was pleasant to cycle along countryside streets, clear rivulets, trees and lovely houses.
If you wish to rent a bike you must contact the Pro Loco of Morgano a week in advance. Bikes are regular ones, not e-bikes, fyi.
After the ride, we had lunch at the stand, under a big marquee tent as in a classic Italian sagra, a few steps from the main square, piazza Indipendenza. I have to say, complimenti! The food was all very good. Risotto or crepes agli asparagi, white asparagi and eggs, green asparagi and cold cuts.
Visit to the farm
We then visited a nearby farm to discover the production phases of asparagus. We went to Azienda Fantin Benvenuto, in Ospedaletto. Benvenuto Fantin is the owner. Quirk note, Benvenuto in Italian means Welcome. 🙂 Cute, right?
There, you can also buy asparagus directly at the farm. Every day from 9.30-12 am and 2-7 pm, of course during asparagus season, from the end of March to the end of May, but it depends on the weather. This year for example, due to the intense warm of April, asparagus are all growing at a super fast pace, and the farmers are having a hard time to harvest them all in time.
White or green
As you know, there are two types of asparagus: bianco, white, and verde, green. But do you know how do the farmers obtain the difference?
Well, the color depends on the different exposition to sunlight. If the farmer wants to obtain white asparagus, he keeps the veggy under the soil level and covers it with plastic foils. The green ones however ones remain out, like flowers.
Being them green or white, they are collected by hand one by one. The farmer knows how to collect them. That is, if they are a specific length longer than his knife. The greens are easier to collect.
The white ones, well… the farmer is so experienced, that he can say where one of them is, even if it’s underground. He called himself “clairvoyant”. And I think he is. 😀 I observed the soil, and I thought: “Ok, it must be there, cause there’s a little dip”. Well, no, it wasn’t there. Benvenuto, he immediately found two, nowhere near the point I was looking at, and I swear there was no clue of their presence there. Mystery. Plus, another difficulty is not to ruin them while you pick them up with the knife.
The asparagus are immediately brought to the farm to be washed and sorted. Only those of a certain size can be labeled with the igp mark. At the farm we also saw the purple ones, very beautiful. I have never seen purple asparagus before.
The cutting fase is important too. They use the blade of a sickle, the only thing that can cut about 1000 bouquets per day without ruining the blade. Moreover, it can operate a clean cut, that doesn’t compromise the hydration of the vegetable.
After washing and selection, asparagus are cut and then binded in “bouquets”.
Now I totally get why this asparagus are more expensive than others. And I appreciate them even more. Plus, I can tell you that you can absoultely tell the difference. I bought some green ones at the market in Badoere and I prepared them the day after. They were delicious and tender, I did not even have to peel them. While those I bought at the supermarket the week before, well, they were not as sweet and tender. Plus they were more fibrous.
Asparagus is rich in vitamins A, C, D, K and calcium. If you want to prepare an easy recipe, you can go to my recipe of asparagus and eggs.
The Rotonda market
After the visit to the farm, I stopped at the main piazza with Monica Cesarato to see the market. Monica writes in English too and way better than I do, since she lived in the Uk some years ago. If you want to read also her point of view on this day go to www.monicacesarato.com.
In the piazza, we found an asparagus kiosk and dozens of handmade goods stalls: bags, bijoux, clothes, hats, ceramics, etc. All around, the beautiful Rotonda.
The clou of the event, the traditional Exhibit of the Asparagi di Badoere igp, takes place every year on May 1st. As for the other days, you can find the market and the food stand. On the website www.germoglidiprimavera.tv you can find more info about asparagus, all the related events and the restaurants where you can taste local dishes.
You can watch my video here:
Asparagi di Badoere igp
Piazza dell’Indipendenza, Badoere (TV)