Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Low Prices Prompt Northwest Asparagus Growers To Try To Delay Harvest


Northwest asparagus growers are just starting to harvest spears in the warmer sites around Pasco. The green points are the first crop harvested in spring.

The U.S. eats more fresh Northwest asparagus on Easter than any other day. Mother’s Day is second. So farmers from here to Mexico want to harvest a lot of asparagus around this time.

Their biggest Easter payday enemy is high temperatures. The hotter it gets, the faster those baby spears turn into tall, fluffy ferns.

Right now, asparagus prices are low due to a lot of Mexican and Californian asparagus still available in stores.

Gary Larsen, a grower outside of Pasco, says it doesn’t pay much to cut his asparagus right now, but waiting may not pay off, either.

“With the temperatures that are being forecast for next week, there’s no way to slow it down. So you might as well just get started and hope for the best," he said.

The hope is that with temperatures in Mexico and California starting to rise, we won’t be seeing their asparagus in supermarkets for much longer. With that supply down, Northwest growers should start to see higher prices.

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.