Maysville Kentucky Blog

The Maysville Kentucky Blog is your guide to the beautiful and historic small town of Maysville Kentucky, snuggled into the rolling hills along the Ohio River. Though this blog has been discontinued, you can get your Maysville Kentucky fix over at Ken Downing's Mason County Kentucky Blog @

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Asparagus Bed of Mason County

One of our readers asked, "Why is May's Lick called the asparagus bed of Mason County?" Those outside the area would naturally assume that it's because May's Lick grows a lot of asparagus, right? Not exactly. It's actually surprising to find that May's Lick grows very little asparagus, especially considering that they seem to have this strange fascination with the plant, and even have an annual festival all about asparagus. So where does this obsession with asparagus come from?

I had to delve deep into the bowels of the web to find this one. It's an article from the Cincinnati Enquirer dated 2002:

Over the years, the fields around May's Lick have been known for nurturing tobacco, corn, hemp and maybe a few illegal crops. But the story goes that nearly a century ago, a banker named Sanford Roff declared May's Lick the “asparagus bed of Mason County.” Considering townsfolk probably grew even less asparagus then than they do now, this slogan was more about marketing than the true state of agriculture. Mr. Hoff's theory was that asparagus grows in fertile soil and May's Lick is blessed with fertile — although mostly clay-red — ground.

So what Mr. Roff really meant was May's Lick was prime property, and it could be the asparagus bed of Mason County — if people tried.

Full Story

So there you have it. The May's Lick Asparagus Festival, and the whole story of being the 'asparagus bed of Mason County' has little to do with the actual plant itself, and a lot more to do with a dream of a better tomorrow - a prosperous future for the residents of Mason County rooted in the soil. Now that's pretty cool, don't ya think?


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