Scottish asparagus growers are having to re-think their sales strategy this year, now that the asparagus season is approaching but the hospitality sector is still defunct, and with labour shortages being problematic.
At Lunan Bay Farm, in Angus – one of only three asparagus growers in Scotland – the McEwan family, from Inverkeilor, will be ready to harvest their first fully mature crop this May – after a three-year waiting game.
Asparagus growing is highly labour-intensive, but despite the shortages of pickers reported across the UK, Jillian McEwan told the SF that she is hopeful that they have enough support on standby, should they come into difficulty.
“Our harvest is due to begin on May 4 and there are 15 acres of asparagus to be harvested – which should produce around 7500 kg over a six-week picking period,” she said. “We have well-drained, light soil here on the Angus coast which makes for perfect soil conditions.
“As an area, we also have some of the most hours of sunshine in Scotland which benefits the spears. However, they can grow very quickly in a 12-hour period which can be challenging and time-consuming given that everything has to be hand-cut.”