We're skeptical of magazine articles that tell us to "Eat More and Lose Two Dress Sizes!" We do, however, buy into this green mantra: "Gorge on local produce, reduce carbon footprint!" Visiting your farmers market and buying produce that's in season locally is a fantastic way to lower your "food miles" count—the number of miles your food travels, by plane, ship or truck to get to you. It's kind of like a cholesterol count, except the entire atmosphere is at stake, instead of just your arteries. But if you're not Bill McKibben, Barbara Kingsolver, or some other diehard who's vowed to eat local food for a year, then perhaps you need a little incentive to get you to trek out to your local farmers market. 

Enter: Asparagus. The delicious veggie, part of the lily family, is packed with folic acid, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, fiber, B vitamins and antioxidants. It's just coming into season on the East Coast, and is already on stands at farmers markets in California. Try this mouthwatering recipe:

Roasted prosciutto-wrapped asparagus

24 medium asparagus spears
12 thin slices prosciutto (about 8 oz.)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400F. Steam asparagus spears until tender. Transfer spears to paper towels. Place 1 strip prosciutto on cutting board. Sprinkle with cheese, and place an asparagus spear on either end. Roll spears toward each other in prosciutto. Repeat. Place wrapped spears in large roasting pan and roast 10 minutes, or until prosciutto begins to brown. Pepper to taste.

Enjoy! But hurry up, because Asparagus has a short season—only a few months. And don’t blame us if, by gorging on healthy local produce, you accidentally shed two dress sizes along with all those unsightly food miles.

Recipe adapted from The Berry Patch.

This article originally appeared in Plenty in April 2007. The story was added to MNN.com in July 2009.

Copyright Environ Press 2007.

Don't spare a spear
Asparagus is a super-healthy veggie that is only in season briefly. Grab some!