By the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board
Dewitt, MI — Michigan asparagus shippers completed their season in the final days of June, completing a season that lasted 6 to7 weeks.
USDA is currently reporting that this year’s fresh market production reached an all-time high of 14 million pounds. On the flip side, the market for processed asparagus reached an all-time low this year, at just 7 million pounds.
With ideal weather conditions and superb quality, the major setback for Michigan Asparagus again took the form of imported asparagus flooding the market during Michigan’s growing season. Imports were coming from Peru and Mexico.
Rainy conditions this spring created ideal growing conditions, helping roots soak up plenty of rainwater and produce the juicy spears that Michigan is known for. Cooler temperatures allowed producers to stay on top of harvesting the quickly growing crop. “When the weather gets hot, the asparagus just shoots up.” Explains John Bakker, Executive Director of the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board, “Under the right conditions, we’ll see up to 10 inches of growth in a single day. Those are the days that require us to go through a field two or three times to harvest. If a grower gets behind, they’ll have to mow the field and lose that part of the harvest – that’s why the mild temperatures we had this season are so important.”
This year’s ideal conditions created steady, predictable growth and superb quality asparagus. Spears harvested throughout the state displayed excellent tip quality, delicious fresh flavor, and desirable thickness.