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  • Washington Fresh Asparagus in Season + Ready for You! 05.16.17

    Nearly 100 asparagus farmers in a 100-mile radius of the Tri-Cities have began harvesting and packing the first fresh Washington State asparagus. A harbinger of spring, asparagus is the first Pacific Northwest vegetable of many that follow to market.
     

     

    Last year, 21 million pounds of Washington asparagus were harvested, which, for growers and packers in the industry, meant roughly a $36 million economic impact. Mother Nature will dictate the season’s final yield, but growers are optimistic about 2017.

     

    This spring, approximately 5,000 acres in Washington are producing asparagus. Alan Schreiber, executive director of the Washington Asparagus Commission, said over the past four years, growers have been planting newer varieties of asparagus and following more intensive management practices. This has resulted in better yields with superior quality.

     

     

    The majority of Washington state’s fresh asparagus remains in the country, with much of it consumed in the Pacific Northwest. Local consumers have access to asparagus all year long due to imports, but by the first half of April, Washington asparagus starts arriving at retailers and showing up on restaurant menus for about two months. An added benefit: Washington State’s asparagus industry has taken a step above the USDA standard for U.S. Grade One asparagus to almost universally offer “Washington Extra Fancy” asparagus, a super premium product packed at a higher grade that offers the best possible quality.

     

    Schreiber said consumers can usually identify Washington-grown asparagus at retail by looking for the rubber band around each bunch that identifies it as Washington, or by hang tags in the produce sections. Consumers can also ask their produce steward. With much fewer road miles and transit time from farm to market, the local product offers fresher flavor and quality than imported asparagus.

     


     

    Asparagus packs great health benefits. It is a good source of vitamin A and vitamin C and is among the best vegetable sources for folate (a prenatal staple to help prevent birth defects) and glutathione (an anticarcinogen and antioxidant). It contains no fat, no cholesterol and is very high in fiber. For home cooks, asparagus offers versatility: steamed, simmered, roasted, grilled, sautéed or wok-fried.

     

    About The Washington Asparagus Commission

    Established in 1991, The Washington Asparagus Commission promotes Washington Asparagus both domestically and in the foreign markets, monitors and addresses trade issues, and advances environmentally sound production and practices through research. The Washington Asparagus Commission represents the growers’ interest in areas and issues relating to the asparagus industry. The Commission invites the public, retailers and restaurateurs to share their Washington fresh asparagus enthusiasm via social media with the hashtags #getfreshwithus and #WAfreshasparagus. Learn more at www.waasparagus.com

     

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