UNIVERSITY CITY • A dried-out batch of asparagus has touched off a debate about racial discrimination, grocery stores and the role of citizen-led commissions.

It started in May when resident David Olander was perusing the produce section of the University City Schnucks. He noticed the asparagus weren’t resting in a tray of water.

“It was just sitting there dried out,” said Olander, a member of the city’s human relations commission.

Olander summoned an assistant manager, and then he asked the question: Did the quality of the asparagus have any relationship to the store’s location in a black neighborhood?

H/T Mark Sletten