Here at Eat Like No One Else, we are all about eating seasonally. I encourage people to eat food when it’s in season and eat it often. With modern transportation and refrigeration we can enjoy many things year round that we never would have before. There are some things that I buy year round even if the area I live in can’t currently grow them. Ideally I try to enjoy my peak season produce as much as possible. That is the case with asparagus. It can be found year round, most of the year it is coming from Peru. This increased distance means increased prices and decreased flavor. The sugars in asparagus begins converting to starch as soon as it’s cut. The sooner you eat it after harvest the better, which is why asparagus from Peru will never be as good as asparagus harvested closer by. During the late winter, asparagus begins showing up from Mexico and the prices tend to go down.
Below you will find a table of the approximate time of year asparagus is coming from different states or countries.
|Peru||June to January|
|Mexico||February to April|
|California||March to May|
|Michigan||May to June|
Prices are typically the cheapest when California and Mexico season overlap because there is a big supply on the market.
How Long Do I Have to Enjoy Asparagus?
There are many states that grow asaparagus that you can buy at your local farmer’s market. So when your local asparagus season begins how long do you have? It all depends on the climate. Some areas might get 8-12 weeks worth, some more like 4-6 weeks. It depends on temperature extremes. If you are in an area that heats up quickly, like in the Midwest than the season will be shorter than say in an area of California that maintains temperature for an extended period in the late winter to early spring. The best answer you can get to this question is to ask a local asparagus farmer as it varies from year to year.
What About White Asparagus?
White asparagus is just asparagus that has been deprived of light. It has no chlorophyll giving it a bitter taste. Nearly all white asparagus is imported from places like Peru. California no longer grows it commercially. It will be available sporadically throughout the year whenever imported prices are good.
What About Purple Asparagus?
Purple asparagus is available around the same time as the standard U.S. grown green varieties. I don’t find a lot of imported purple, more white is imported. I have had several people coming to the site when searching for whether purple asparagus is a GMO (genetically modified organism). I think people are beginning to worry that if a vegetable is a different color than they are use to that it might be a GMO. After doing a bit of searching around the web, I couldn’t find much on asparagus being a GMO, so I believe it to be a low risk. Purple varieties of veggies have been around for a long time, they are just now becoming more popular.
Check out my favorite asparagus recipe –> Toasted Couscous with Asparagus Pesto