Strong production of California asparagus anticipated next month by FreshPlaza

Strong production of California asparagus anticipated next month

California’s organic asparagus production is going following its start three weeks ago. “Production will increase next week (the week of 3/25) and we expect strong production starting in April, which will continue through June,” says Caleb Randall, Ippolito International’s asparagus commodity manager. The supply should be approximately the same as last year.

In the state, production began a week earlier due to favorable weather conditions. “Last year, we experienced cooler temperatures and wetter weather, which postponed our season’s start here in the Salinas Valley,” says Randall. “The small town of Gonzales has ideal growing conditions with cool nights, foggy mornings and warm days. The weather here creates a spectacular asparagus crop.”

In California as a whole, there are three primary growing regions for asparagus: the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the Central Coast and the San Joaquin Valley. It remains a key asparagus growing state at a time when overall acreage is down on the vegetable in the U.S. In 2022, California, Michigan, New Jersey and Washington collectively harvested 16,200 acres of asparagus and that’s a decrease since 2006 when it was at 44,700 acres. In California, asparagus production has decreased from 22,500 acres in 2006 to 2,200 acres in 2022 while Michigan harvested 9,900 acres, Washington 2,100 acres and New Jersey 2,000 acres. In 2021, California accounted for 30.6 percent of the total U.S. asparagus production. Despite having smaller acreage, production increased by 21 percent from 2020-2021.*

The power of organic
For Ippolito, today it’s one of the remaining growers committed to organic asparagus. “After all, it is a nutritional powerhouse and a natural way to boost one’s immune system and live a healthy lifestyle, and it’s a vegetable that enjoys heightened popularity during the spring months especially,” says Randall.

Right: Caleb Randall

Indeed demand for asparagus is moderate right now but consumption should pick up as the peak season approaches. “Easter and Mother’s Day are excellent times to promote asparagus and it is a favorable item to promote in the spring and early summer,” says Randall, adding that by promoting California-grown product, buyers can improve their offerings and support local agriculture.

As for pricing, it’s been steady for the first two weeks of March and should be comparable to 2022 pricing. “Over the next few weeks through the end of March and early April, we should expect steady pricing, increasing volume and beautiful quality,” says Randall, noting that the biggest challenges for growers and shippers right now are higher production costs and competing against less expensive product sourcing from Mexico.

* USDA, California Department of Food and Agriculture

For more information:
Ippolito International