Cold temperatures delay Michigan asparagus production by two weeks
Like many crops across the country, the Michigan asparagus crop is about two weeks late this season. “It’s because of the temperatures we had.
Some growers thought there would be an early start because there wasn’t a lot of snowpack but the cold temperatures changed that,” says Brian Coates of Applewood Fresh. “Some also think it may be a shorter season because there wasn’t a lot of snowpack.”
Applewood Fresh works with a grower in the Northern part of the state, the last region to come on, and it will likely start to have a light amount of asparagus starting this weekend.
However mid-next week is when production is anticipated to really begin. “Michigan is a wild card as to how long it will go. You’re lucky if you start before Memorial Day and then usually it ends by the end of June,” says Coates. “The temperatures then get so hot that you generally don’t get to the 4th of July, though you might if the temperatures are more mild. It’s a six to eight-week season in Michigan.”
It’s anticipated the volume out of Michigan will be similar to last year, though growers in the Southern part of the state are trying to increase acreage.
As for demand, Coates thinks it will be good. “Certainly the closer you are to Michigan, the more demand there is as far as retailers wanting Michigan product.
There are certain retailers that domestic local product means something to,” he says. Though he notes that recently he’s heard from a Florida company asking about Michigan asparagus, which could indicate there’s not plentiful Peruvian supply coming in.
Pricing is also anticipated to be similar to last year, even with the increased production costs. “Michigan vegetable growers are very proud of their product and they try to maximize their return on a short season. There’s not an abundance on import product coming in and it will also depend on how much Canadian product comes in,” says Coates. “If the deal is shorter and comes on quicker, growers may have to get more aggressive on pricing to move through the volume.”