Recipe: Japanese-style pasta with fresh asparagus

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Although asparagus is available year-round, the spears on shelves during fall and winter are mostly imported. The peak season for domestic asparagus is spring to early summer, which means these vibrant and healthy veggies are in season right now.

Asparagus was originally introduced to Japan in the Edo Period (1603-1868) by the Dutch as an ornamental plant. In the Taisho Era (1912-1926), they were grown in Hokkaido for canning as an export. Canned asparagus continued to be sent overseas until World War II, but the global market for Japanese asparagus declined drastically afterward. From then on, farmers in Hokkaido, Nagano, Saga, Nagasaki, Kumamoto and other regions started growing asparagus for domestic diners, leading to the tasty treats we have today.

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