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Electric harvesting carts are used to pick asparagus at Sandy Shore Farms, Port Burwell, Ontario. Photo by Jeff Tribe.
Electric harvesting carts are used to pick asparagus at Sandy Shore Farms, Port Burwell, Ontario. Photo by Jeff Tribe.
May 13, 2024

Asparagus! It’s the first fruit and vegetable field crop of the season marking the unofficial start of spring.  And it signals the abundance of local options that will soon be available from Ontario growers.

 

“It’s always an exciting and busy time for us,” says Mike Chromczak, an asparagus grower and vice-chair of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association (OFVGA). “There’s a sense of pride when you see the first green spears begin to emerge. It’s a relatively quick growing season, lasting six to eight weeks, but we’re working full tilt during that time, harvesting almost every day to provide fresh top-quality asparagus for Ontarians to enjoy.”

 

Sustainability is at the core of Ontario’s asparagus farming, with growers employing techniques such as planting cover crops to naturally control weeds and prevent soil erosion. Growers are also reducing the carbon footprint of harvesting, such as transitioning to electric versions of the harvesting carts used to pick asparagus by hand.

 

From early May to early June, Ontario asparagus will be available at farmers’ markets, grocery stores and restaurants around the province. By choosing locally grown, consumers can reduce their carbon footprint, support local growers and enjoy the unmatched freshness and taste that comes from produce grown close to home.

 

“It’s incredibly versatile and great value. Asparagus is so dense in nutrients and price competitive with most items in the produce department,” Chromczak continues. “Each season, we’re reminded of the hard work and dedication that goes into harvest, but it’s always great to see people so excited about local asparagus.”

 

Visit the Asparagus Farmers of Ontario website for more information about sustainable asparagus growing.

 

Source:  Ontario Fruit & Vegetable Growers’ Association May 13, 2024 news release

 

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Submitted by Karen Davidson on 13 May 2024