Last Tuesday the Belgian asparagus season was officially opened with the traditional first cut. The first cut this year was made by mayor of Peer Steven Matheï (CD&V), mayor of Leopoldsburg Wouter Beke (CD&V), mayor of Oudsbergen Lode Ceyssens (CD&V) and vice-president of Boerenbond Georges Van Keerberghen at asparagus grower Bries-Tijskens in Grote-Brogel.
Raf De Blaiser of Lava with a box of Flandria asparagus
The harvest at grower Bries-Tijskens started on March 7 and 20% of the asparagus have now been harvested. Due to the recent frost, 10% of the asparagus was lost. The grower plants a harvest of both white and green asparagus every year. According to the grower it's important that asparagus remains a real seasonal vegetables. "Asparagus are a real spring vegetable, so there have to be asparagus for three months. This means it's a surprise every time."
Mayor of Oudsbergen Lode Ceyssens, Steven Mattheï mayor of Peer and Wouter Beke mayor of Leopoldsburg
Asparagus grower Bries-Tijskens has been supplying her asparagus exclusively to Delhaize for 15 years and not to other supermarkets. "Delhaize set high standards for the asparagus, but we're used to meeting high quality demands because we have been supplying asparagus with the Flandria quality brand," says wife Hilde Tijskens.
Asparagus grower Hilde Tijskens with a Polish employee
According to Benny Cuypers of BelOrta, the asparagus season had a mediocre start. "The weather conditions weren't that good, which meant the demand was lacking and prices were low. We've seen the market improve a bit this week. We expect a peak in demand with Easter at the weekend, as people associate asparagus with the holidays. The month of May is traditionally the best month for asparagus."
Benny Cuypers, BelOrta
The area of asparagus has been reasonable stable for years and BelOrta sells over 3 million kilos every year. "We put a lot of effort into putting the asparagus in the spotlight, and we start early. Although the popularity of the asparagus remains the same for the most part, the demand for green asparagus has risen in recent years.
Grower Sooi Bries speaks