In Germany, asparagus is considered so important that along the Niedersächsiche Spargelstraße, or the Lower Saxon Asparagus Road, many towns elect a Spargelkönigin (asparagus queen) each harvest season! Despite American reactions to it, it is an honor and far from a joke! This position is not easy to acquire for a young woman either! A queen must be well versed in asparagus in regards to how it grows, tastes and, most importantly, how best to prepare it! It is a wonderful way for young women to be able to show off their skills in a pageant that is not about the beauty of a person, but of a food!
An Important Position
While the title of Spargelkönigin is reserved for young women who have not yet graduated high school, it is nonetheless still very important for a town! Rather than just maintaining a title, the asparagus queen has a variety of responsibilities. During her reign she will visit asparagus farms in the region, educate younger students about the agricultural and cultural importance of the crop, as well as volunteer at different asparagus-based locations in the region! She is an ambassador of sorts, spreading the message of how healthy and delicious asparagus is to all around! This coveted title is held for the entire year, and when her reign is up the queen will pass her sash, crown and basket of asparagus to her successor!
Bringing a Community Together
One of the most beautiful things about this tradition is that it brings an entire town together to celebrate the annual harvest season. It reinforces the cultural and economic importance of this crop, often called ‘white gold,’ and it gives a community a reason to celebrate. Unlike harvest seasons in many parts of the world, this celebration brings a level of respect and honor to the harvesters that may not otherwise exist. It also provides a platform for young women to hone themselves as individuals and be valued for their skills rather than just their looks. All in all, the royal affair of the Spargelkönigin and the festival accompanying it is an incredibly fun and beautiful occasion!