Friday, 25 June 2010

The end of the asparagus season is nigh!

London Fields farmers' market greeted its patrons with an apocalyptic boarding:

"The end of the asparagus season is nigh!"

The asparagus woman stood at her sales altar in the usual state of grace, sheltered from the blazes by a steepling green tarpaulin. I drifted toward her as though she were my high priest and I had but moments to ready my soul for doomsday.

The main sin I had to confess was my pitiful intake of asparagus this season. There were kids about, so I kept schtum about the crack and the hookers.

She heard out my confession and suggested I buy two handfuls of her mis-shaped spears in repentance. At £3.50 for the pair, this was an indulgence I could afford. Before I could leave, the asparagus woman gave me a wistful tale of the harvest:

“'Tis a moooooon vegetable”, she told. “I plucked these boys at four o'clock this very morning. When the stars align, I'm picking four times a day. The optimal conditions for asparagus are a full moon on a midsomer's night.”

She cackled awhile on the glory that met her in the asparagus patch that night: rows upon rows of young priapic spears – her “boys”, standing to attention for her arrival in the twilight.

The phallic overtones of her story were making me feel queasy. I bagged the asparagus and ambled toward the cheese-wallah, who spends his working life manhandling teats.

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