The company Christian Befve & Co is responsible for the technical support of 30% of the world's asparagus production. A week ago, the company began harvesting green asparagus under glass. Christian Befve: "The harvest starts in the South-West and South-East of France. This is the Darlise variety; an early and tasty variety for the luxury market. We have been growing this variety under glass for three years.”
A video of the harvest. The greenhouses are equipped with photovoltaic panels.
Christian: "This season is very unusual, because it started with a lot of cold; asparagus barely grow, and it takes technology to fight the cold. You must either have glass greenhouses, or plastic greenhouses with arches to allow for beautiful asparagus of a good size and advanced in growth. “
There is a worldwide shortage of asparagus: "This year we will not have enough asparagus to meet the high demands around Easter. We have 220,000 hectares of asparagus in the world. To satisfy the demand, it would be necessary to have 270,000 hectares. The harvest started slowly because of the cold, and 10-15 cold days will follow. In Spain, the storms have further reduced volumes, and at the moment we do not have asparagus on their markets. Currently, the price of asparagus is more than €10.- per kilo, which is a very high price.”
"The consumption of white asparagus will stagnate in many countries, due to new generations either unfamiliar with them, or unwilling to put in the effort to peel them. In addition, a white asparagus on a white plate looks a bit disappointing as a decoration. Germany is the only country which has increased production; 30% of German white asparagus is sold readily-peeled by the farmer. This corresponds with consumer demands. The demand for green asparagus, on the other hand, is on the rise; There is no need to peel them, and they really dress the plate, hence young people prefer green asparagus.” According to Christian, the consumption of asparagus in general is increasing in the European market.
Christian points out that white asparagus and green asparagus are two totally different products in terms of flavour, presentation, and consumption. "Some consumers prefer green asparagus, others prefer white asparagus. Our job is to offer both."
A video of the harvest of green asparagus at the Lebourgs in Cestas, with thermal mulching bales: this mulch is great for advancing growth, and protects the shoots from bad weather: Engel's Spin harvesting machines lift the mulch when it’s time to harvest the asparagus, and they rest them on the bales immediately after harvesting the shoots. The asparagus varieties are Cygnus and Terralim.
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Christian Befve & Co