The desire to create an autonomous agricultural project”, led Pedro Martins da Costa to grow green asparagus in 2018, together with his wife Sara Taveira, on a property located in São Torcato, Guimarães. In 2022 it will be the fourth harvest.
João Rodrigues, Feitoria
Texto de Patricia Serrado
Fotografias de Tiago Lima
This connection to land comes from family. Proof of this is oenology, the craft of Pedro Martins da Costa, who a handful of years ago decided to complement this knowledge combined with wine, with the production of green asparagus. The product is also the name given to this family project – Espargos Verdes (Green Asparagus) –, founded with his wife, Sara Taveira, which was born from the “will to create an autonomous agricultural project” and which, this year 2022, adds to the fourth harvest.
Curious by nature, “I ordered all the books on asparagus via the Internet. They are from the last century, and they are only foreigners”. Despite not being a well-known vegetable, “it has an incredible history!” According to the knowledge learned, there is a record of its consumption “for more than a thousand years” and “it has a series of nutritional properties beneficial to health”. Pedro Martins da Costa refers to folic acid, among other “minerals in large quantities, lots of water and lots of fibre. It's a superfood!”
Determined to gather more information about this food, Pedro Martins da Costa visited green asparagus producers in Spain, France, and Italy, “to find out how it is grown”. The next step was to dedicate himself to planting green asparagus, on two hectares of Quinta de Segade, in São Torcato, a parish in the municipality of Guimarães, in Alto Minho, purchased in 2018. “The farm had been abandoned for many years”, therefore, “we had to re-nourish and rebalance that land”.
When everything was ready to start, both 'set to work'. “The cadence of green asparagus cultivation is very similar to a vineyard”, begins by explaining Pedro Martins da Costa. In February, this vegetable starts to burst and takes ten days to grow, until it reaches 20 centimetres. Its harvest begins, which lasts until May. “When you stop harvesting, the asparagus grows freely and reaches two meters in height, from June to September.” Between September and November, they dry up, taking on brownish tones “and their reserves go to their roots, the same roots that start to sprout in February.” In the meantime, applications of organic matter are made in the post-harvest or in the winter. “The project intends to respect the land and the product itself”, which is why Espargos Verdes has the organic producer certification awarded by SATIVA.
The green asparagus by Pedro Martins da Costa and Sara Taveira can be purchased directly from both, through social media (Facebook and Instagram). While part of the production is sent to other countries, such as Spain and France.
Despite being a resistant product, it is necessary to put into practice, at home, the proper care to keep green asparagus healthy. Pedro Martins da Costa advises placing these vegetables in a plastic bag, the opening of which must be folded, so that no water enters, and placing it inside the refrigerator, where it can remain for ten days. When preparing, just peel the last third of the asparagus and not the entire husk, since “most of the fibre is in this husk”.