The "Asparagus from Navarre" Designation of Origin
is reserved for asparagus produced in Aragon, La Rioja and Navarre in areas that the Control Board regards as suitable for high-quality production, and are marketed under the names of Extra and Primera. Regarded as ambassadors
for the whole of Navarre, they are easily identified by their white colour, smooth texture with little or no fibre and exquisite flavour.
Asparagus is a very contemporary product despite its ancient origins, as proven by Egyptian paintings
dating back to 3,000 years BC that show the first images of this vegetable. However, the first time they were actually mentioned was during the Roman Empire in writings by authors such as Pliny.
According to legend, the first seeds of this refined foodstuff were brought from Baghdad in the baggage of a local citizen who was obliged to leave the city and ended up settling in Cordoba. A man from Tudela, who was travelling in those parts, tasted the delicacy for the first time and asked him to spare a few seeds, sowing them on his return in the capital of the Ribera region and making asparagus one of the leading lights of Navarrese cuisine.
The land is prepared in autumn and planting takes place between February and March; the asparagus are then harvested at the end of March or beginning of April
. The same production systems of old are still used today, with harvest beginning at six in the morning so that the asparagus can be canned on the same day without losing their water content.