The asparagus routes

By Paola Ochoa, AgTools
Asparagus is a vegetable consumed throughout history in different cultures around the world. People thought their origin was in the Mediterranean region, where they grew naturally. Evidence of consumption by ancient civilizations, such as Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, has been discovered.

Today, the gastronomy of diverse cultures and Hispanic cuisine highly value asparagus. Cultures enjoy them in multiple ways: raw, cooked, grilled, in salads, and even used in preparing sauces and more sophisticated dishes.

Their versatility and distinctive flavor profile have been critical factors in maintaining their popularity throughout history.

Related Article: Tomato: The Soul of Hispanic Gastronomy

Health Benefits

Asparagus is a healthy choice for those who want to control their caloric intake, as it is low in calories.

In addition, they are an excellent source of essential minerals such as iron, zinc, potassium, and magnesium.

They also provide essential vitamins such as A, C, E, K, and several B vitamins, including folic acid. It is important to note that these vitamins decompose after harvest.

Therefore, consuming them as fresh as possible is essential to take full advantage of these vegetables’ nutrients.

During the first ten months of 2022, the United States managed to market 530 million pounds of asparagus. However, in 2023, the amount dropped to 476 million pounds, which implies a 10.1% reduction. This decline has been continuous throughout the year but was more notorious in the first four months.

Asparagus volume in the USA

Traditionally, Mexico was the leading supplier of asparagus to the US. However, this year’s exports have decreased by 7.9% compared to 2022. Peru has also experienced an 18.92% drop in exports to the United States this year, mainly due to the effects of the El Niño phenomenon in the region. During May, the Lambayeque region, one of the main asparagus-producing areas, recorded average temperatures of 78° Fahrenheit, while in 2022, the average maximum temperatures reached in that same period were 68° F.

Mexican asparagus

Michigan, the undisputed leader in asparagus production within the United States, experienced an exceptional season in 2023. Its production increased by 168%, and the season lasted another month compared to 2021. It is important to note that the asparagus season in this region runs from May to July. Despite the increase in Michigan production, more is needed to compensate for the decrease in importing regions such as Mexico and Peru. As a result, from July through October, consumers have had to pay record prices for this product, reaching a maximum of $4.53 per pound, generating an imbalance in the market.

Asparagus retail price

Asparagus: Delicious and Nutritious

Asparagus is a delicious option for those looking for a mild flavor and tender texture in their meals. In addition to their flavor, these vegetables are an excellent source of essential nutrients that are beneficial to health.

Choosing asparagus fresh from the supermarket is essential, as those transported over long distances may have lost some nutrients.