The asparagus season is one that starts when the frosts are over and it is good and ready, you can never predict it. Especially this year. We get it straight from one farm which means that we can’t guarantee when it will be on our tables. I guess that’s what we get for only serving the good stuff!
It’s finally here, and last week one of our Peachy chefs, Trevor, went to chat to Chris Chinn to find out why his family farm’s asparagus is so damn good, and why Wye is the right place to grow the best in England!
Here’s what he told us:
What’s your background and how did Cobrey farm began?
The Chinn family has been farming since 1925 when Wilfred Chinn, my great grandfather, took on the tenancy of 125 acres. Since then, Cobrey farm has grown to include 975 acres. We also rent an additional 1500 acres to supply demand for our premium quality English-grown asparagus, rhubarb and other crops.
What is the most important part of running the farm?
It’s all about the product for us. It leaves the farm just how you receive it, and that’s what people want. You can’t get that degree of freshness if you purchase from aboard. Working closely with chefs like you is important to us as it means we get to hear their feedback and build good relationships over the years.
What’s your secret – why is your asparagus the best?
The Ross sands here mean we get sandy soil – it’s free draining and full of minerals, which I think you can taste in the end product. But even with the best conditions in the world, you still have to care. Asparagus can go from hero to zero if it isn’t looked after and cooled straight away.
Why the Wye valley?
We’re lucky with the climate here in the Wye Valley – we get the warm air from the Atlantic, and Wales protects us from the rain. We get the best of both worlds.
What’s your favourite asparagus dish?
I like to fry it with bacon – it makes my bacon sandwich seem healthier!
What’s the future for asparagus?
It gets more and more popular but I can see the interest moving over to white and purple asparagus. Purple is much sweeter so we recommend eating it raw in a salad. White asparagus grows in higher soil – so you never see it above ground.
Thanks Chris and Trevor.
This year to make life Peachier, we have a new asparagus dish on the specials board – Classic British Asparagus, Hollandaise & Poached Egg, with Morels or Smoked Salmon. Wye not pop into the pub and give it a try before the season ends?