I could write an essay on the asparagus and its history in world cuisine, but instead I’m marvelling at how this highly seasonal vegetable is at the centre of a brilliant, thoroughly modern campaign to fuse online tools and PR to promote British asparagus growers.
Tonight as Bristol’s annual Food Connections Festival draws to a close, there will be a special celebration of the asparagus in the form of a five-course meal at Yurt Lush to support the British asparagus industry.
This is a unique event to give profile to and support a single type of vegetable.
Unique because it has been masterminded through an online crowdfunding campaign, and as such is probably a first for any small agricultural sector in the UK.
When you go to The Great British Asparagus Feast crowdfunding site, the first thing you’ll encounter is a video bigging up the little vegetable.
Make no mistake the video is a major factor in successfully selling a complex idea about asparagus and its promotion to the crowd. It shows and tells the whys and wherefores of the event and has been instrumental in raising over £7K for the project.
On reflection, maybe it’s not such a surprise to find that British asparagus is the star of its own show.
Hard to find out of season, this is perhaps the one vegetable that is prized more highly than others because of its rarity. Certainly in countries like Italy, asparagus season is a joyous and much anticipated harbinger of high spring.
The surprise is how the vegetable is being turned into and treated as a brand.
With consummate skill Pam Lloyd PR has created a razzmatazz event, complete with celebrity chefs, to showcase the asparagus, and funded it via an appeal to food lovers and interested parties through a crowdfunding site. This in turn has created more collateral to keep the momentum going in the social media channels.
Knowing that five asparagus-filled courses await us this evenin, and being aware of the many myths associated with the veg, I’ll be keeping a careful eye on the after effects of this magical night out in Bristol.