A gourmet tour through asparagus country – the Lower Saxony Asparagus Route

The Lower Saxony Asparagus Route is a 750km route for connoisseurs running in parallel with the Asparagus Cycling Trail right through the most important asparagus-producing areas of the region where a fifth of all German asparagus is grown.

Motorways are practical; they generally get us from A to B pretty fast. Shame then that they often also cause us to miss out on local gems. Sometimes, it's worth making the time to stop and stare. So when you pass through asparagus country, step off the beaten track and plunge right in. The asparagus fields are a dominant feature of the region's landscape from as early as March, with the spears themselves being harvested from the end of April to the end of June (Midsummer's Day), depending on the weather. Once the harvest is over, the green plants and red berries mean the asparagus fields are still easily recognisable well into the autumn. The harvest season, when the asparagus is cut, sold and served in a variety of different ways in local restaurants, is a particularly interesting time for visitors. Combining a trip to an asparagus exhibition with an asparagus feast, or even having a go at harvesting some spears yourself is a great way to round off the experience. The ideal time to cycle along the route is in May or June, when the asparagus tips are sprouting. A range of tours along the route, including short outings for day trippers, provide the opportunity to sample some good food, buy asparagus fresh from the farm and watch the asparagus cutters at work. But for those who can't make it during the asparagus season, the Asparagus Route has a whole host of other attractions so that you can experience this green corner of heaven: cycling tours, sport, a spot of gentle fishing, berry and mushroom picking – or perhaps a hike through Lower Saxony's vast woodlands, tranquil heaths and unspoilt moors.

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