ELTOPIA, Wash.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–From the first spears poking up, to picking and packing, Washington State’s 2023 asparagus season is underway. Consumers can expect the harvest in stores starting this week, carrying into mid-to late-June.
Last year brought a shorter season of approximately 15 million pounds of Washington asparagus, with an economic impact of $27 million. These numbers reflect a tougher year that saw continued pressure from imports, a delayed harvest start, an unusually cool growing season, and increased domestic labor costs. Looking to the 2023 season, however, industry experts remain positive.
“Our growers are optimistic and off to a strong start. The organic asparagus production continues to tick up, currently at about eight percent, and newer asparagus varieties are naturally more resistant to soil disease,” said Washington Asparagus Commission BB #:171522 Executive Director Alan Schreiber.
The local asparagus industry faces competition from year-round imports, especially from Peru and Mexico. However, consumers can significantly boost the viability of the Washington asparagus industry by seeking out their product where they shop and buying just one extra bundle during the season.
Washington fresh asparagus exceeds USDA U.S. Number One standards with Extra Fancy-designated stalks, evident in more tightly and evenly packed bundles. Washington asparagus also means a far smaller carbon footprint with quicker farm-to-market transit times, and more freshness, flavor, juiciness and quality over imported counterparts.
Asparagus also packs in the nutrients. It naturally contains a built-in detoxifier, an amino acid called aspargine, vitamins A, C, K, E, folate, fiber, and glutathione (an anti-carcinogen and antioxidant). It can aid in protection from chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease and is fat-free and cholesterol-free.
When shopping, choose odorless, green (or purple) firm asparagus stalks with dry, compact or barely-opened tips. Wrap the bases of the stalks in a wet paper towel, placed inside a plastic bag, then refrigerate. Before eating, rinse the spears under cool water and snap off or cut the lighter stalk base. Find tips and recipes at 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. Learn more waasparagus.com.