May 13, 2019
Michigan asparagus season gets underway

Michigan’s asparagus is now underway, despite unusually cold weather.

Late-season blizzards dropped six inches of snow on asparagus fields. April snows and cooler-than-usual temperatures did delay this year’s crop, but Michigan asparagus season is now officially underway with some grower-shippers beginning to ship orders last week and many others beginning to ship this week.

Photos: Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board/Full Tilt Marketing

The cool spring weather has provided growers with some extra time to prepare fields and complete beginning of season tasks like mowing and fertilizer application.

John Bakker, Executive Director of the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board (MAAB) said in a press release May 13 that grower-shippers were on schedule to harvest and deliver similar volume to last season.

“We’re expecting to see peak volumes toward the end of the month, just in time for Memorial Day,” he said.

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 said. “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 4 days old when it reaches the consumer, as opposed to imported asparagus that can spend up to 21 days in transit.

The MAAB 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 vs. imported asparagus in addition to asparagus’ host of health benefits, the MAAB will be rolling out new content on a daily basis and hosting weekly giveaways via social media contests.

With quality and volume expected to be high this year, the 100-plus family farmers that produce the majority of Michigan’s asparagus are anticipating a great season and they are committed to the proud ideals of seasonally fresh, U.S. Grown, eating local and sustainable food miles that all make Michigan asparagus a perfect choice for today’s consumer during the spring and early summer months.

MAAAB promotes the production and consumption of Michigan asparagus nationwide. The organization is dedicated to sharing the virtues of asparagus, while also assisting with agricultural research and the development of asparagus farming. The MAAB is funded by Michigan Asparagus growers.

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