Posted: 17/08/2015 at 01:04
What are you doing trying a parsnip this early! Parsnips really only develop good flavour after a few hard frosts otherwise they are fairly tasteless. The starches in the parsnips begin to convert to sugars with the fall in the temperature and it is the sugars that give the wonderful flavour to roasted parsnip.
Why yours are hard and woody seems strange unless they have started to go to seed (bolt) but that normally only happens in their second year and then the roots become very hard (even woody) and inedible. I guess this might happen in a hot dry summer but I have never seen it happen to my parsnips here in St. John's (Newfoundland) where the winter is colder than the UK but the summer is similar to the UK.
Some parsnip varieties and strains are more prone to bolt than others. I grow the variety "White Gem" and never had one bolt in at least six years.