The asparagus season started unusually early in the German region of Palatinate this year.

The first spears of the so-called “royal vegetable” were harvested for farm sales at the beginning of March. Due to the extended season, the producer cooperative ”Pfalzmarkt für Obst und Gemüse eG” is now taking stock - even before the traditional end of the German asparagus season on 24 June.

A comparison of the first key figures with the previous year shows that the 23 active asparagus producers of Pfalzmarkt eG will probably not reach the total sales volume of 871,000 kg from 2023 onwards. As of 9 June, 832,000 kg of white and green asparagus were marketed via the trading platform in Mutterstadt. The share of green asparagus is around 7%, the same as last year. The same applies to product sales. As in 2023, these are expected to stabilise at around 4.2 million euros.

Asparagus producers challenged by early harvest and variable season

Pfalzmarkt eG Fazit der Spargelsaison 2024

Image: Pfalzmarkt eG

The appetite for asparagus was already whetted in March. Pfalzmarkt eG reported a good start to the season with still manageable daily quantities. “The relatively cool March ensured that demand was always higher than supply. “Pfalzmarkt growers who were able to harvest and deliver their asparagus by Easter achieved consistently good prices,” explains Hugo Da Mota, team member in the asparagus office at Pfalzmarkt eG. The summery temperatures in April and the rainy May then literally turned the market upside down. As asparagus grows quickly in warmer temperatures, the increased supply led to falling producer prices.

As the daily quantities - which have ranged from 0.5 tonnes to 28 tonnes over the course of the season so far - fluctuate wildly depending on the weather, the ups and downs of temperatures have been a challenge for growers and marketers alike at the Pfalzmarkt eG asparagus office. Asparagus is a very labour-intensive vegetable crop. As a result, the pressure on growers’ labour costs is high, and has been exacerbated by the increase in the minimum wage to 12.41 euros on 1 January.

Short winter and very good quality throughout

Pfalzmarkt eG offers three classes of white and green asparagus throughout the season, with a total of 23 different calibrations. The short winter in Germany’s largest fresh vegetable growing region ensured early growth. Given the changeable weather, the quality was, as Hugo Da Mota explains, “very good across the board! Light and shade are close together for the individual farms that grow asparagus for Pfalzmarkt eG: whether and to what extent they will have a good or a mixed asparagus year on the whole cannot yet be judged. Positive impulses are coming from the catering industry, which is traditionally one of the most important consumers of asparagus from the Palatinate. In recognition of the importance of these ambassadors of enjoyment, the “First Pound of Palatinate Asparagus” was presented for the first time this year to chef Anatol Elert of the Turmrestaurant in Ludwigshafen.

Deliveries of Pfalzmarkt asparagus to food retailers will continue until the end of this week (week 24).

Traditionally, the early asparagus plants are usually harvested by Corpus Christi. As the focus of Pfalzmarkt growers then gradually shifts to other crops, less than half of the 23 Pfalzmarkt growers are currently supplying asparagus to Mutterstadt. Due to the early start of the season, Pfalzmarkt eG ends the asparagus season before 24 June. Supplies to the food retail trade (LEH) will continue successfully until the end of this week, concludes Pfalzmarkt eG.


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Gemischte Spargelstangen

Image: HLPhoto_AdobeStock