U.S.: Washington asparagus harvest underway
Washington’s Gourmet Trading Company announced the beginning of its asparagus harvest, with volume expectations on par with last season.
The state is home to an estimated 7,000 acres of asparagus plantations, yielding around 22 million pounds a year, according to the Washington Asparagus Commission.
Washington is among the main asparagus producing regions in the United States.
The Gourmet Trading Company entered the state’s industry in 2006 with the opening of what it described as a state-of-the-art packing house in Pasco, Washington. Today, the company reports a 40% share of the state’s grower base.
In a statement given to www.freshfruitportal.com, marketing manager Chloé Varennes described the increasing importance of asparagus in retail and food service.
"U.S. asparagus consumption continues to grow. At the retail level, bagged asparagus has gained popularity as large retail chains begin to add the item to their asparagus category. Retailers can choose a pack size, color of asparagus or mix of colors, asparagus size to custom match what their customers are demanding," she said.
"In food service, we have found that asparagus is no longer an item that is only found at high-end restaurants. It has been adopted by casual dining and fast-food restaurants within recent years.
Restaurants see it as a way to either upsell their customers on a more high-end vegetable or give the impression that they are more high end."
President Brian Miller said the company would continue to invest in asparagus with additional plantations going into the ground. Nationally, asparagus plantations have declined in recent years.
In 2009, the National Agricultural Statistics Service reported 33,700 acres of asparagus planted. In 2013, the number had dropped to 26,800 acres.