ELTOPIA, Wash.–(BUSINESS WIRE) — Washington State’s family farmers and packers are readying for the 2022 season with their fresh, vibrant asparagus available at regional supermarkets, farmers markets and restaurants this week, into June.
In 2021, approximately 15 million pounds of asparagus were harvested, with an economic impact of $30 million for growers and packers. Washington State is one of the nation’s leading producers of domestic asparagus.
“We’re working in earnest to return to harvesting over 20 million pounds this season. Last season was the first time we did not harvest at least 20 million pounds in more than 50 years. Pressure from import competition and unseasonable weather factored into what would otherwise have been a much more productive and lucrative year,” said Washington Asparagus Commission BB #:171522 Executive Director Alan Schreiber.
Enhanced growing techniques and stricter rules on chemical inputs have researchers testing new asparagus varieties that are naturally more resistant to soil disease. Washington’s organic production of fresh asparagus remains strong, accounting for approximately eight percent annually.
Washington fresh asparagus exceeds USDA standards with “Extra Fancy” designation. Its small carbon footprint translates to superior freshness, flavors, and quality over imported counterparts. Local fresh asparagus is identified with “Washington” bands on asparagus bundles, shelf talkers, or by asking stores for fresh asparagus from Washington State.
The health benefits of asparagus are bountiful. Research has found it can protect the body from chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease. It’s fat-free, cholesterol-free, and its amino acid helps cleanse the body of toxins. It’s rich in fiber, Vitamins A, C, K, E, folate, and glutathione (anti-carcinogen and antioxidant).
Choose odorless, green (or purple) firm stalks with dry, compact or barely-opened tips. To store, wrap the ends in a wet paper towel, place inside a plastic bag, refrigerate and use as soon as possible. To prepare, rinse under cool water and snap or cut the white end of the stalk, approximately the bottom half-inch.
Northwest chef recipes: waasparagus.com/recipes.
Washington Asparagus Commission
Established in 1991, The Washington Asparagus Commission promotes Washington asparagus domestically, monitors and addresses trade issues, and advances environmentally sound production practices through research. The Washington Asparagus Commission represents the growers’ interest in areas and issues relating to the asparagus industry. waasparagus.com.