Waitrose has announced an early British asparagus season, with the first harvest of 2022 in stores from tomorrow (26 February).
The crop has come around eight weeks early compared with the usual UK asparagus season, which runs from mid to late April. Waitrose said it had benefited from a warmer start to 2022.
“We know how much our customers enjoy home-grown British asparagus, which is why we’re delighted that this year’s crop will be available earlier than usual,” said Lucy Darby-Smith, Waitrose vegetable buyer. “It’s a clear sign that spring is on its way and we’re certainly looking forward to the warmer weather.”
The crop of British asparagus is from Sandy Booth’s farm in the New Forest, where the unseasonably warm January temperatures and the natural use of coir, which warms up much quicker than soil, has led to an early harvest this year.
Coir is a hydroponic growing medium typically from coconuts which retains moisture. “By using the coir, we’re confident that this early crop will be some of the tastiest asparagus on the market,” said Booth. “Perfect for enjoying alongside a creamy hollandaise or in a simple salad with free-range eggs.”
The crop of asparagus will be available in Waitrose for £3.50 per bunch.
“The traditional asparagus season kicks off on 23 April, St George’s day, so it is obviously significantly earlier than that date,” said British Asparagus Growers Association chair, Chris Chinn.
“They’re using some very early varieties and forcing the crop using plastic, so it’s a good use of the greenhouse effect you get inside a poly tunnel.”