Market Minute: Start planning ahead to promote asparagus
An unfamiliar archaic word for asparagus was called “sparrow grass,” which originates in maritime coastal habitats. Asparagus was once known in English as “sperage,” which was derived from Medieval Latin “sparagus.”
Besides green, there is white and purple asparagus. The purple was developed in Italy under the name of “violetto.” When cooked, the purple asparagus will turn green. The white asparagus is very popular in Europe. While still growing, the shoots are covered up with soil to keep them out of the sun in order to turn white.
Asparagus crossing from Mexico into the U.S. is light right now, but it is in a transitional stage where more volume will pick up in the middle of October. The current quality is good on a light demand and steady market.
Imports from Peru have moderate supply. The demand on jumbo, large and white is moderate. Other sizes are fairly light and steady.
Organic asparagus is light for now, but the volume will increase and be available in October. Light supply is available at this point from Mexico.
Merchandising: Display asparagus vertically in a pan with one-half inch of clean water to maintain its shelf-life freshness. Change the water regularly to keep it clean.
Stay abreast of the asparagus market and availability with your suppliers in order to schedule some aggressive sales ads.
Ron Pelger is a produce industry adviser and industry writer. He can be contacted at 775/843-2394 or by e-mail at [email protected].