Crop 101: Asparagus

20150502_080804 We have 3 acres of Asparagus on the farm. Our oldest patch was planted in 2000. Our newest patch was planted in 2015, and includes the first purple asparagus we’ve ever grown.  We will only harvest a few spears from the new patch this year.  We want it to have a good strong foundation, and picking too much will stress the plants and possibly decrease future production.
Asparagus is one of the very few vegetables that is a perennial, which means we harvest from the same plants for many years, instead of planting new plants each year.
We begin harvesting asparagus as soon as the first spears emerge from dormancy (begin poking out of the ground) in the spring – this can be anywhere from early to late April depending on how warm the spring is.
Even though it requires an intense amount of labor (all asparagus is harvested by hand), we are dedicated to harvesting our asparagus daily.  When it is really warm, asparagus can grow up to 1 inch per hour so we will harvest it twice in one day! Our strict harvest schedule prevents the asparagus from becoming tough and the tips from ferning out; many folks have said that our tender asparagus is the best they have ever eaten.
Over 90% of the Asparagus eaten in the US is imported from places such as Mexico or Peru, so every bit you can do to support your local Asparagus farmer is important!

Asparagus Crowns These are the asparagus’ dormant root system. We planted each crown in 2015 in our newest patch of asparagus.

Here are some Asparagus recipes you might enjoy.

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