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Michigan wrapping up its asparagus season

Michigan is in its last week of shipping asparagus from the state. "We started a little early this year so we likely moved a little more volume because of that," says Trish Taylor, marketing manager for Riveridge Produce Marketing, Inc., adding that the state is finishing up at about the usual time.

The early start of its asparagus season was due to a warmer-than-usual spring in Michigan. As for the crop size, it looked similar to last year's crop.

Meanwhile, on asparagus demand, it was also as per usual. "We were able to move a little bit more because retailers who rely on asparagus from other regions around the world were able to turn to Michigan sooner. Generally, where and when available, everyone prefers local product," says Taylor, noting that the vegetable is generally grown along the sandy soils on the shores of Lake Michigan. "Local helps keep freight costs lower because they're not shipping it as far and it is fresh."

Michigan and its asparagus
As a commodity, asparagus is a big deal in Michigan. "We're the state that grows the most asparagus and we have a robust research facility," she says, noting that more than 50 varieties are being trialed in the area of the research facility. There they can determine the best varieties for the Michigan climate but also a changing climate. "They can also work towards what people prefer palate-wise–thin spears, thicker spears and stay on trends," she says.

She also notes that the state hand snaps its asparagus to harvest it. "Pickers on the back of the harvester snap it by hand at its natural breaking point. For the most part, that is unique to Michigan," says Taylor.

As for the larger commodity picture in Michigan, Taylor says just about every asparagus grower in the state has a diverse crop. "The income that comes in from asparagus sales help to fund the rest of their growing seasons–most of them are fruit farmers with a peach, cherry, and/or apple crop," says Taylor, adding that pricing this year looked similar to 2023 pricing.

For more information:
Trish Taylor
Riveridge Produce
Tel: +1 (616) 887-6873
[email protected]