A new 12-member English co-operative, Western Asparagus Growers, has invested £80,000 in an electronic imaging and grading machine that has been imported from New Zealand.
The machine can meet specific customer requirements on colour, length and diameter, and will also play a pivotal role in developing sales and trialling long-life salad packs and ready meals. Plans for the future include a soup brand for farm shops.
The crop is delivered daily to a grading station at Red Star Growers, near Pershore, and dispatched either from RSG or RD McGuffie and Sons, New Farm, Lichfield.
Based in the Midlands and south-west, WAG has 180 acres in production and a further 60 acres reaching maturity in two years. Chairman Richard Colwill said: "The future lies in developing and improving asparagus growing and marketing."
One member is already producing organic asparagus.