Washington State’s family farmers and packers are readying for the 2022 season with its fresh asparagus available at regional supermarkets, farmers markets and restaurants.
In 2021, approximately 15 million pounds of asparagus were harvested, with an economic impact of $30 million for growers and packers.
“We’re working in earnest to return to harvesting more than 20 million pounds this season. Last season was the first time we did not harvest at least 20 million pounds in more than 50 years. Pressure from import competition and unseasonable weather factored into what would otherwise have been a much more productive and lucrative year,” said Alan Schreiber, executive director of the Washington Asparagus Commission.
Enhanced growing techniques and stricter rules on chemical inputs have researchers testing new varieties that are naturally more resistant to soil disease. The commission said that Washington’s organic production of fresh asparagus remains strong, accounting for approximately 8 percent annually.
Washington fresh asparagus exceeds USDA standards with an “Extra Fancy” designation. Local fresh asparagus is identified with “Washington” bands on asparagus bundles, shelf talkers or by asking local stores.
Research has found asparagus can protect the body from chronic diseases, such as cancer and heart disease. It’s fat-free, cholesterol-free and its amino acid helps cleanse the body of toxins. It’s rich in fiber, Vitamins A, C, K, E, folate and glutathione, which is an anti-carcinogen and antioxidant.
The Washington Asparagus Commission promotes the local produce domestically while monitoring and addressing trade issues. It most recently has focused on advancing environmentally sound production practices through research since its founding in 1991.
For more information, visit waasparagus.com.
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