Usually you can rely on the UK asparagus season starting on 1 May, sometimes a few days early, occasionally a few days late. This is proving to be the strangest year for asparagus growing in the UK that I can recall. There is always the odd grower who manages to get some to market a week or two early, but the long-term health of the plant depends on not over-stressing it by harvesting for more than about six weeks. This year some Wye Valley spears could be bought in very early April due to an unseasonably warm March. A cold wet April then plunged the crop back into dormancy. I stubbornly resisted the temptation to buy the few, weedy stems on offer. Until last week, that is, when one of my favourite restaurants, Rochelle Canteen, put some lovely, fairly plump, Essex-grown spears on their menu. Finally the season has properly started with the arrival of my favourite Kent grower, New Park Farm. Setting up stall at Borough Market today, they also expect to be at Marylebone Farmers Market tomorrow. Offering three grades of asparagus, every year, normally from 1 May to mid-June, New Park Farm bring some of the very best asparagus to London's markets. Buy it while you can as who knows whether the season will end prematurely this year.