The official start of the British asparagus season was celebrated last week at the first-ever crowdfunded produce industry dinner, held in Bristol on Thursday 5 May.
Dubbed the Great British Asparagus Feast, the event raised over £7,000 from online backers to fund a five-course menu with asparagus dishes created by a range of well-known chefs.
Different growers from across the country provided the asparagus for each course, and gave a brief talk before each of their respective dishes.
Steve McGuffie of New Farm Produce, Chris Chinn of Cobrey Farms, Sophie Bambridge from Barfoots of Botley all spoke about their company’s produce and asparagus production, while the Guardian’s drinks columnist Fiona Beckett introduced the wine for each course. William Hebditch of New Cross Fruit Farm supplied the asparagus for final cheese course, while Andy Allen, of Portwood farm, provided the asparagus for the canapés.
Courses included asparagus with slow cooked egg and goat’s chees, made by Adelina Yard, Cornish crab, asparagus and wild garlic from the Wallfish Bistro, and asparagus sautéed with girolle mushrooms and hazelnut alongside a smoked and roasted organic chicken from The Pony & Trap.
Attendees at the dinner were a mixture of figures from across the fresh produce industry, as well as local press, bloggers, and other members of the media. All were encouraged to use social media actively throughout the evening to promote the beginning of the asparagus season "to the rest of the world", with the hashtag #AsparaFeast was trending on Twitter by the end of the night.
The event was organised by marketing specialist Pam Lloyd PR and hosted at the Yurt Lush in Bristol.