This year’s British asparagus harvest promises to be the biggest since records began, growers have predicted.
The Asparagus Growers Association (AGA) - which represents more than 90% of UK growers - said it was expecting a yield of 5.52 million tonnes for this year’s crop, some 2% higher than last year’s crop and 24% higher than 2011’s crop.
This year’s outdoor season, which began on 23 April, was boosted by a warm, long summer last year, said the AGA, which meant asparagus root systems had stored “plenty of carbohydrate, which charged up the roots” of the crop.
As a result, the 2015 crop was “better-tasting and noticeably different” compared with previous years, said AGA chairman Chris Chinn - who is also a partner at grower Cobrey Farms.
The AGA’s predictions were echoed by Morrisons asparagus buyer David Bartle, who predicted yields at the retailers’ farms could be boosted by up to 20% this year following the recent bout of good weather.
However, Chinn said retail prices for British asparagus were unlikely to fall despite the increase in harvest, because demand continued to outstrip supply. “Consumers will generally buy more when we produce more, so I can’t envisage any price drops,” he said.
It comes as Tesco has announced the trial launch of a new purple asparagus, which can be eaten raw. Burgundine is a purple and green cross-breed grown in Norfolk that contains slightly less lignin - the fibre element present in the vegetable.