The recent downpours and floods are taking a heavy toll on British asparagus, causing major delays and supply shortages to this year’s crop.
Organisers of the British Asparagus Festival today cancelled this weekend’s event as there is not enough asparagus available.
The Vale of Evesham, where the festival is based, produced about 60% of the UK’s asparagus.
Festival organiser Angela Tidmarsh said asparagus had been expected to be scarce as a result of the weather, but recent floods meant the crop was now almost completely dormant.
“What’s more, the venue for the festival has been under several inches of water, when the River Avon burst its banks,” she added.
Delays to the crop have also been reported by the Asparagus Growers’ Association, which said cool temperatures throughout April had slowed down – and in some case halted – production.
A spokeswoman for the body said total volumes this year were still expected to be as normal, but the season would be considerably shorter than last year – six weeks compared with eight to 10 weeks last year.
“We are expecting to start harvesting by next week at the earliest but possibly not until the week after that,” she added.
Harvesting the same amount of asparagus over a much shorter period of time would put a lot of pressure on growers and put a glut of British asparagus on the market once harvesting starts, she said. “We really have to get the word out to consumers to support British asparagus when it is available.”
Not having large volumes of asparagus available this weekend will also be a blow to growers who had hoped to take advantage of the bank holiday weekend to boost sales.
The British Asparagus Festival will be postponed to 27 May, when it will be combined with the annual asparagus auction at Bretforton.