British asparagus farmers have almost doubled their total growing area since 2004 to meet rising domestic demand, new figures show.

The area grown with asparagus in the UK had risen 84% to 1,480ha by 2009, according to the British Asp­aragus Growers' Associa­tion. In the same period, total asparagus consumption went up by 3,620 tonnes to 7,410 tonnes.

The figures showed British asparagus had moved from a small-scale industry to a multimillion pound business, said AGA chairman Andy Allen. "The surge in the popularity of British asparagus has been fuelled by a growing demand for fresh, seasonal produce and the superior flavours associated with buying British fruit and veg as soon as they are picked."

While imported asparagus has increased by 720 tonnes a year, UK production has increased by more than three times as much, or 2,900 tonnes.