Hunting the Wild Asparagus
Lately we have seen patches of wild asparagus in the vacant lot on rue Voltaire—tantalizingly out of reach—so we yearned for the chance to go out in the countryside and harvest some. Yesterday we grabbed clippers and a sack and took the walk from the Roman barrage on up the road toward the Gorges de Galamus and the headwaters of the Agly River. The outing was a great treat for us. Spring has been slow in arriving this year, so we’ve had to seize the few opportunities we’ve had for going out into the countryside and make the most of them. The area around the Roman barrage is one of our favorite places to visit and revisit. At the dam, it’s like catching up with old friends. And an ideal place to find wild asparagus.
This is a view of the barrage. Imagine the roar of tons of water pouring over the spillway. The sound is so loud that you have to shout to your companion to say, “It’s louder than I remembered!”
Recent rains fill the nappe and make the vignerons happy. A wet spring followed by a dry summer, this is ideal for good wine. Unfortunately, no wild asparagus shoots in the underbrush.
The barrage creates a wide pool perfect for swimming, which is forbidden by the canton. Trout fishing, however, is not, so this is a much-desired spot for casting during the season (which begins in March).
Up the river toward the gorges lie a few hectares of flat riverbank land where an enterprising soul has installed an animal farm complete with exotic chickens and roosters, rabbits and dogs. There are also olive trees and, on a hillside nearby, vines. The roosters were particularly impressive and loved taunting the gentle rabbit who cowered in a corner of the fenced yard. If the animals were guarding a special patch of asparagus, they were doing a fine job, because we saw none.
Alongside the road, late-blooming mimosa trees but no asparagus.
Some movie stills from a 10-minute documentary of the walk which will soon be posted in YouTube.
Photographs by D Young.
Movie stills & text by R Young.