The California Asparagus Commission has revealed that cooler-than-normal weather in the state continues to slow spear development in asparagus beds, leading to hopes of a high-quality crop this year.
"Daytime temperatures have been warm enough to help the asparagus mature, but low temperatures at night discourage the spears from emerging," noted Marc Marchini of A M Farms. "Additional time in beds improves quality, so we're optimistic that this is going to be a great year for California asparagus."
According to the Commission, some growers in the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley have already started harvesting limited volumes, as have a few westside growers, while Salinas Valley harvesting will begin shortly.
The anticipated strong season will be backed by an aggressive promotional campaign following the renewal of a Marketing Order by growers, in a bid to help retailers move asparagus into shopping carts, explained California Asparagus Commission executive director Cherie Watte.
Included in the campaign are a series of product usage ideas for consumers and foodservice press releases, point-of-sale materials and sales incentive programmes for commercial and non-commercial foodservice segments.
"With the help of Mother Nature, this could be our best asparagus season ever," Ms Watt added.