NORMALLY, at this time of year, Worcestershire asparagus growers are hoping for a few weeks of warm weather to get their delicious shoots ready for the first crop around about now.

However, this year, given the Mediterranean temperatures we have all enjoyed for the past three or four weeks, the asparagus crop is already in full swing – and is available right now.

Liz Styan, of farmers’ market regulars Styan Family Produce, says this is a brilliant year for the vegetable: “We picked this year’s first asparagus during the first week of April – about three weeks earlier than usual.

It is now going full tilt and is extremely tasty.”

Styan Family Produce has had some asparagus on its Worcestershire farmers’ market stall for the past few weeks and has been enjoying it at home, too.

Mrs Styan said: “Our eldest son, James, came up with a great asparagus snack. Take a few spears and snap off the ends. Put them on a plate and put it in the microwave – not in any water, or covered, just on a plate. Cook them for two minutes and then place the spears in some well-buttered crusty white bread.

“The white bread doesn’t detract from the flavour of the asparagus but complements it perfectly. Eat it straight away.

It is a snack to die for.”

Whichever way you like your asparagus cooked, you can enjoy the very best local, fresh spears at your next Worcestershire farmers’ market.

Today’s market is in Victoria Square, Droitwich, from 9am until 2pm. Next weekend’s markets are in High Street, Bromsgrove, from 9am until 5pm, on Saturday, May 14, and in Angel Place, Worcester, from 9am until 3pm, on Sunday, May 15.