Lincolnshire-based nursery Hargreaves Plants has revealed plans to begin trialling a new variety of green asparagus called Early California, which it suggests could radically alter the commercial landscape for UK asparagus.

First developed in the US state from which it takes its name, Early California is said to be best suited to production in arid and semi-arid growing areas.

However, in wetter parts of the world such as the UK, the variety can be grown under permanent protection and, it is claimed, offers improved yields compared with other early-season asparagus.

'The growing system is truly innovative,' commented Jamie Petchell and Vincent Dupré, the self-styled Aspara Buddies who aim to generate interest in the asparagus category via social media.

With trials due to start this year, Early California could potentially triple the volume of asparagus spears available prior to the open-field season, Petchell and Dupré added.

'At the moment, most cultivated asparagus plants produce 8-12 spears in a season. Just imagine 30 – three times the asparagus delight,' the said.

Hargreaves Plants is one of ten companies worldwide taking part in the fourth round of International Asparagus Cultivar Trials. A total of 27 varieties and selections are being tested, including Early California.