Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Asparagus celebration for St George

Katie Sexton, 20, celebrates the start of the asparagus season with St George and a round of asparagus spears in Worcestershire.
The Asparafairy, Jane Bremer, 23, and St George celebrate the start of asparagus season.

The first round of asparagus picked this season was the centrepiece of an eccentric and quintessentially English celebration of St George's Day.

The humble round of 'gras as it is known locally was cut and presented at a ceremony in its native Vale of Evesham, at the 600-year-old Fleece Inn at Bretforton in Worcestershire, before being loaded onto a convoy and waved off by morris men.

From there, the asparagus was taken by a column of 40 classic cars winding its way through the Vale as part of the launch of the county's British Asparagus Festival - a month-long celebration of the vegetable delicacy, supported by local businesses and Wychavon District Council.

The convoy finished its journey at the local 1,024ft (312m) tall landmark Broadway Tower folly, on the Cotswold border, accompanied by a cast of asparagus-related local personalities including Gus the Asparagus Man and the UK's only asparamancer and psychic Jemima Packington, whose predictive talents have appeared on Channel 4's Big Brother's Little Brother.

The tower, wrapped in a St George's cross flag, then provided the backdrop for a rendition of the national anthem, God Save The Queen.

Angela Tidmarsh, festival organiser, said being eccentric was an essential part of the English national character - as was the humble green vegetable.

"Unlike the past few years, it has been a really good year for asparagus so there's plenty of it about," she said.

"So what better way to celebrate St George's Day with an English delicacy."

She added: "Of course it's eccentric, that's what being English is all about."

The first asparagus round will now be auctioned for charity.

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