The Association of Horticultural Workers of Alto Aragón and the Agro-food Research and Technology Center of the Government of Aragon (Cita) have launched a program to protect the traditional asparagus of Barbastro, which is "in serious risk of disappearance," according to Andrés Esteban, technical manager of "Espárrago de Barbastro".
This product has been registered as a National Quality Mark since November 6 of last year for the local varieties Tradicional and Grueso Blanco, which were approved and authorized in the Regulation.
The program aims to "prevent the disappearance of asparagus plants in local gardens which are 40, 50 and even 100 years old. The asparagus harvested is a unique product, but there are great difficulties to expand its cultivation in regular farms with a greater acreage."
This asparagus is "white, thin and not peeled for consumption, and it has an extraordinary flavor. The production is scarce and is available in the months of March, April and May, when it hits the shelves of local greengrocers and it is also possible to taste it in some restaurants," explains Andrés.
Based on the experience of Barbastro pink tomatoes, "asparagus seeds have been collected this campaign in order to build up a good stock. This will be the base for Cita's later work."
Growers have been invited to collect and deliver seeds for their selection, multiplication and identification of their characteristics, as registered in Cita laboratories. Similar procedures yielded very good results with Barbastro pink tomatoes and this precedent invites optimism. "We trust in the collaboration of agricultural producers of Barbastro and Somontano and those interested can contact the Association," he says.
So far, seven batches of seeds have been collected and the promoters are confident that this figure will have increased by the end of February, when the campaign will come to an end.