While recent snows and cooler than usual temperatures have delayed this year’s crop, the Michigan asparagus season is now officially underway with some grower-shippers beginning to ship orders and many others starting this week.
According to the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board, the cool spring weather has provided growers with some extra time to prepare fields and complete beginning of season tasks like mowing and fertiliser application.
“Grower shippers are on schedule to harvest and deliver similar volume to last season.” said John Bakker, executive director of the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board. “We’re expecting to see peak volumes toward the end of the month, just in time for Memorial Day.”
Suppliers throughout the industry are reporting that pricing and quality will be on par with last season.
“It’s more important than ever to buy local, domestically grown asparagus during the season,” Bakker related, “We see asparagus growing operations throughout the country, mainly in California, closing their doors because they can’t compete with imported asparagus. It’s a shame, when you factor in the food miles and the irrigation water, it’s much more environmentally sustainable to buy local.”
In addition, domestically grown asparagus is at most four days old when it reaches the consumer, as opposed to imported asparagus that can spend up to 21 days in transit.
The Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board has undertaken additional marketing efforts this year to help promote Michigan asparagus and keep it top of mind for consumers during peak season.
With a focus on educating consumers about buying local versus imported asparagus in addition to asparagus’ host of health benefits, the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board will be rolling out new content on a daily basis and hosting weekly giveaways via social media contests.