Consumers have waited for the 2021 crop of Michigan asparagus and will now be rewarded with the seasonal favorite at their local stores. Given unexpected cooler temperatures at the traditional start of the season, the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board (MAAB) announces the main production area of West-central Michigan started harvesting and packing this week.
Although the state was gearing up for a Mother’s Day “normal” season start, Mother Nature had her own plans. While days had been warm, temperatures dropped to near or below freezing many nights, delaying the start of harvest by a week. The “pre-season” had light volumes from the Southernmost part of the state that found their way into only the local markets.
Now, Michigan asparagus season is officially underway: quality, volumes and pricing will be similar to last season with peak volumes in late May and early June.
“Because asparagus depends on weather, it tends to be somewhat unpredictable,” said Jamie Clover Adams, executive director of the MAAB. “But it is a veggie well worth the wait.”
Last year’s asparagus season kicked off during the time Americans were encouraged to stay at home to flatten the curve. Although we saw shortages in meat and toilet paper, fresh
produce came out on top. While things are returning to a more normal state in parts of the country, demand for Michigan asparagus is still high, with many consumers asking for it specifically.
With people cooking more at home than ever, the MAAB partnered with social media influencers who developed recipes for different palates during the 2020 season. This will continue during the 2021 season and are available at www.michiganasparagus.org, with new recipes each week.
“Over the past year, consumers have found themselves at home with a need and want to cook more, but oftentimes not knowing what to do in the kitchen,” said Clover Adams. “We want to show consumers that cooking doesn’t have to be tricky and you can have delicious and healthy meals in minutes.”
And of course, buying local continues to be important. Less miles traveled and a shorter supply chain, coupled with supporting local, family-owned businesses and sustainability efforts are all practices that will not be going away. Retailers who want to carry Michigan asparagus in their stores can contact the MAAB or visit the website for a list of available suppliers.
The Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board focuses on educating consumers on the importance of buying local versus imported asparagus and the plethora of health benefits of asparagus. The board will roll out new content daily and host weekly giveaways via social media contests throughout May and June.