Asparagus sales in eastern Germany have so far been rather subdued. At Gut Plätz in the Altmark region of northern Saxony-Anhalt, the first asparagus from heated cultivation was already cut on March 18. Due to weather conditions, the first, unheated field-grown asparagus could only be harvested this week, owner Klaus Heinl reports.
"Consumers generally seem to be a bit more reluctant, both in food retailing and in direct marketing," says Heinl, who supplies retailers in the first half of the season and markets his asparagus mainly through his own sales huts from May onwards. "Last year, sales were much better, although little changed in terms of price." Currently, regional asparagus is trading around 7-11 euros/kg, depending on caliber and quality. According to Heinl, there has been no talk of surpluses so far.
Asparagus from heated cultivation
Heinl cultivates pale asparagus on about 22 hectares. Until a few years ago, the grower supplied its fine vegetables under the brand name Royal Spargel to wholesale markets throughout Germany and in neighboring countries. Due to difficult pricing policies, he has now fully opted for direct marketing. "Our cultivation capacity has remained more or less the same over the past few years. What is otherwise noticeable is that direct marketing still predominantly takes unpeeled asparagus in contrast to other parts of Germany, where people tend to prefer the peeled, ready-to-cook product," Heinl concludes.