Apr 27, 2012
Pasco farmer abandons asparagus field

The once-closed tips of the thigh-high asparagus spears have ferned out.

The giant stems cover a 100-acre field that Larsen Farms of Pasco stopped harvesting about a week ago because they — along with other Tri-City area farmers — couldn’t find enough workers this year to cut asparagus.

Owner Gary Larsen said it’s the first time he’s had a labor shortage since he started farming asparagus in 1984.

Asparagus harvest started the second week of April. Warm weather starting Friday caused a flush of asparagus spears that caused harvest to really take off.

In one day, Larsen said his 140 workers harvested more than 3,600 boxes of asparagus.

But it was difficult to keep up because of being short of cutters. Cutters were working 10 to 12 hours a day instead of the five to six Hector Lopez, foreman at Larsen Farms, said they aim for. After all, harvest is seven days a week, without a day off for about 10 weeks. Larsen said while they’ve found some, others have quit. TriCity Herald

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