Asparagus Poachers

I don't have strong feelings towards asparagus. I'll eat the stuff if it ends up on a plate in front of me, but I'll never be overly excited to see it.

Every year around here you can see people pulled off the side of the road picking the wild asparagus growing in the ditch. For some reason, these people can never seem to fully pull their car off the road, years ago I even saw one with the driver's side door open – into the lane. Yesterday there was a guy on a little moped with a basket on the back, but, umm.. he was riding on the shoulder of the highway AGAINST traffic. Does wild asparagus just attract idiots?

Ignoring the intelligence of the asparagus poachers, their product itself bothers me. If you're just grabbing asparagus for yourself, risking you life on the highway with a huge basket doesn't make sense. I have a funny feeling that a lot of this road asparagus ends up in local markets/farmer's markets. This stuff isn't your normal "farm grown" food.. this is a plant that is constantly being fumigated with vehicle exhaust, brake dust, and all kinds of other stuff. This is a plant that sits in a ditch that gets water that runs off the road, carrying with it oil, rubber, soot, and everything else I don't want to be eating. It doesn't matter how well or how many times you wash the asparagus off, all those toxins are still going to be in there. And maybe the levels are low enough that it doesn't matter, but the concentration is still almost guaranteed to be much higher than anything you would pay an extra quarter for in a grocery store.

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