White asparagus is one of the most labor-intensive vegetables to grow. Every spear is hand-picked just as the tip begins to show through the surface of the soil. Farm workers carefully excavate around each spear to a depth of nine inches and clip it at the base. It must be placed immediately in a dark box so it stays white. Interestingly, white asparagus turns pink when exposed to sunlight, though there is currently no market for this color of asparagus.
Asparagus is a member of the lily family and is related to garlic, onions, and leeks. Asparagus plants are very long-lived, and can last up to 15 years!
Asparagus can be green, white or purple. Look for stalks that have a smooth skin, uniform in color and have a dry, compact tip. Avoid wilted or limp stalks. Shriveled stalks are a sign of age.