My family headed to Longwood Gardens this evening to see their Christmas display. It has become something of a tradition in the past few years. Beforehand we enjoyed a late lunch at Harvest Seasonal Grill.
This wasn’t my first time at Harvest. For the most part my experiences there have been pleasant and the food good, though the staff can be a bit overbearing. Like most farm-to-table establishments they do their best to source products locally, though they do supplement their menu with non-seasonal/local items. After all, who wants to eat nothing but potatoes and kale all winter long? Not me!
So I really didn’t think twice when I saw asparagus listed as a side for one of the entrees. I just kind of rolled my eyes and looked for something more in line with what’s available locally this time of year. Then my dad had to go and ask about the a la carte sides, one of which is “seasonal vegetables.” At first our waiter said it was broccoli rabe which actually sounded pretty good to me. Then he corrected himself. The new seasonal side was asparagus.
Asparagus is a spring plant, the first veggie of the season really. It thrives when the days start to lengthen and the air warms.
Much to the horror of my family, I immediately challenged him. “Where do you get asparagus locally this time of year?” He was completely caught off guard and muttered something about various farms in Lancaster. I then asked if it was grown in a greenhouse (can you even grow asparagus in a greenhouse??) to which he also had no answer. Nor did he at any point attempt to find out and inform me.
Like I said, I don’t know too many restaurants in the area that truly stick to local products throughout our fickle mid-Atlantic winter. Had it not been the seasonal side veggie, I wouldn’t have given it a second thought. But really now. Who do they think they are kidding?