Asparagus: Mary Washington (Heirloom) (Asparagus officinalis)
$1.00 - $5.60
This member of the lily family originated in the Mediterranean countries; the ancient Greeks and Romans greatly favored it. According to legend, Julius Caesar required his asparagus to be served with melted butter. By the 16th century, the kings of England and France had claimed it as their special delicacy, causing the vegetable to be nicknamed the "food of kings." Louis XIV of France had his own supply growing year round in greenhouses, since he greatly enjoyed it. In the Renaissance, asparagus was considered an elegant vegetable and often found at the tables of the wealthy. Asparagus came to America with the colonists, and has since grown wild all over the United States.