After a long and tumultuous start to the asparagus harvest season, the local Washington asparagus is back in regional supermarkets, local farmers markets, and restaurants this week.
Washington remains one of the nation’s leading producers of domestic asparagus, and the state’s production of organic asparagus remains strong.
In 2021, the Washington Asparagus Commission determined that approximately 15 million pounds of asparagus were harvested, resulting in an economic impact of $ 30 million for growers and packers.
“We are working hard to return to harvesting over 20 million pounds this season. Last season was the first time we did not harvest at least 20 million pounds in more than 50 years. Pressure from import competition and unseasonable weather factored into what would otherwise have been a much more productive and lucrative year. ” said Washington Asparagus Commission Executive Director Alan Schreiber in a release.
With enhanced growing techniques and stricter rules on chemical inputs, researchers in the region are testing new varieties of asparagus that are naturally more resistant to soil disease. Organic asparagus accounts for nearly eight percent annually.
Washington asparagus exceeds USDA standards with an “Extra Fresh” designation, along with a small carbon footprint. Shoppers can identify the local asparagus with “Washington” bands on the bundles, shelf takers, or by asking stores where the product is located.
Research indicates health benefits from asparagus may include protection from chronic diseases, cancer and heart disease. It’s fat-free, cholesterol-free, and its amino acid helps cleanse the body of toxins. Asparagus is also rich in fiber, folate, and glutathione, and it is bountiful in vitamins A, C, K, and E.
Learn more about Washington Asparagus here.