The Chinn family in the Wye Valley have produced an unusually early crop
The first British asparagus of the season has gone into M&S stores and wholesale markets.
Grown by the Chinn family in the Wye Valley, the first commercial volumes of the 2024 crop went on sale last week.
While the official start of the asparagus season is regarded as St George’s Day on 23 April, Wye Valley Produce has developed season-extending production techniques that means it has been on shelves in early March for many years.
“This especially early crop is the product of innovative methods, and environmental sustainability is a key concern with us utilising only the sun’s heat, and on-farm compost,” explained grower Chris Chinn.
“We are absolutely delighted to be first to market with British asparagus once again, and for the continued support of our enthusiastic customers.”
The first boxes of Wye Valley asparagus are traditionally auctioned off for charity, and this year the proceeds are going to the Oracle Cancer Trust in memory of Damian Fowler, managing director of New Covent Garden Market wholesaler Gilgrove, who passed away last month.
‘Earliest-ever asparagus’ in M&S
M&S Food said the Chinn’s early crop meant it was the first time a UK retailer had British asparagus in early February.
Heather Chapman, head of food technology at M&S Food, said: “We’re proud to be leading the way offering British asparagus in a local store in early February. This is a huge step forward in British produce.
“We’re so proud to continue our longstanding partnership with Wye Valley Produce as they innovate and look for new ways to extend the season. This is only a small start this year, but we look forward to offering more customers the opportunity to buy British asparagus at M&S for an extended season in the future.”