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Low Prices Prompt Northwest Asparagus Growers To Try To Delay Harvest

Anna King
Northwest News Network
File photo

Northwest asparagus growers are just starting to harvest spears in the warmer sites around Pasco, Wash.

The green points are the first crop harvested in spring.

The United States eats more fresh Northwest asparagus on Easter than any other day. Mother’s Day is second. So farmers from here to Mexico want to harvest lots of asparagus around this time.

Their biggest Easter payday enemy? High temperatures. The hotter it gets, the faster those baby spears turn into tall, fluffy ferns.

Right now, asparagus prices are low due to a lot of Mexican and Californian asparagus still around stores. Gary Larsen, a grower outside of Pasco, says it doesn’t pay much to cut his asparagus right now, but he adds, “With the temperatures that are being forecast for next week, there’s no way to slow it down. So you might as well just get started and hope for the best.”

"The best" is that temperatures in Mexico and California are starting to get hot, and we won’t be seeing their asparagus in supermarkets for much longer. With that supply down, Northwest growers should start to see higher prices.

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.