English hopes for normality English asparagus growers are predicting the crop will be back to normal this season with cutting starting in early May. "Last year was one of the latest times on record because of the cold spring," said Victor Aveling, chairman of the Asparagus Growers' Association. "There was a 40% loss of production, simply because we never caught up. Now we are looking forward to a more normal season." Aveling says while acreage remains stable, investment in the face of increased competition from imports is a long- term process. "It costs about £1,800/ acre to buy crowns, and there is no return until the third year," he explains. "By then, while we might be getting back £500, it takes six years to get into full production." European growers as a whole are also facing problems. This week Aveling was in Greece as part of a UK delegation at the first of a series of workshops known as Aspire' organised by ADAS and funded by the EU. Under debate will be the problem of falling yields, which can become evident shortly after the beds should be reaching their peak. One reason could be a disease called fusarium. {{FRESH PRODUCE }}