Low soil temperatures in Norfolk point to the probability that the asparagus crop will not be cut as early this season, according to Victor Aveling, chairman of the Asparagus Growers Association.
Following a meeting of members last week to assess production, he said: “If we are lucky, we might start on April 26, but it is still too early to be positive,” he said.
Further south, Barfoots, which has farms on the Isle of Wight and in Surrey, expects cutting to start a week earlier. Asparagus manager Peter Atkins said: “We should be in the fields about April 15 and have early spears and be under way by April 20.”
However, Sainsbury is
claiming to be the first to stock UK-sourced asparagus following trials on innovative growing methods by its supplier Flamingo in Herefordshire. This produce went into the retailer’s Bluebird store in London this week and was then rolled out nationally across the chain.
The good news, according to Aveling, is that demand for the English crop is so strong that the 100 or so AGA members cannot meet it.
This is despite increased planting at a rate of between 10- 20% a year.
However, at present this is not necessarily reflected in a comparable increase in supply as beds take several years to come into bearing.
Meanwhile, the AGA will hold its first Open Day on April 15 at Holbeach, Lincs hosted by C. Wright and Sons (Gedney) and Hargreaves Plants.
Apart from demonstrations of growing crops under polythene, harvesting and grading, there will be also an overview on world asparagus production, and an insight into the methods of the Canadian industry.
David Shapley