Expert at AGRAVIS says "You have to good asparagus enough time".
Spring is here and asparagus is growing. Frank Uwihs, specialty crops expert at AGRAVIS Raiffeisen AGgives us the low-down on cultivating, the quality and price of this precious vegetable.
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How can consumers tell good asparagus from bad?
Uwihsgives his expert opinion: customers recognise good asparagus from whether their fresh or not. This vegetable is of excellent quality if the interfaces are still moist and it squirts a little bit when you squeeze it. If you don't eat asparagus immediately, it should be stored wrapped into a moist cloth in the refrigerator's vegetable compartment so that it keeps for a couple of days.
Why shouldn't you eat asparagus more than ten days a year?
Uwihs'explanation is simple: this plant has to recover and gather stocks such as sugar, nutrients and trace elements for the following year. Experts on plants muse that asparagus goes on summer vacation and has to prepare itself for the next season.
What do you have to keep in mind when cultivating asparagus?
We ask Uwihs once again: Producers of asparagus want to get the same quantities of harvest over the entire season to make enough asparagus available to their customers. This is why using foils helps to impact the temperatures in the embankment. In spring, the embankments are covered with metal hoops to create a climate such as in southern Europe with a transparent foil. While the embankment is cooled by using white foils on hot days in June that reduce its growth and therefore the yield a little bit.
What will the harvest be like this year?
In Uwihs' opinion: the spring storms in March and April would be the undoing of some agriculturists because these foils would be blown apart which necessitate a lot of time and effort putting it back together again. On top of that, we started two weeks later than last year in the season because there weren't enough hours of sunshine in March. In this time in 2014, we had 185 hours of sunshine, although we only had 140 hours this year.
Finally, why is asparagus such an expensive vegetable?
Uwihs also has an answer to this: Setting it up is expensive, cost-intensive and a real art: asparagus is not only cut. It is also sorted and washed. As much as 50 percent of the costs are labour costs and recently they have been based on minimum wage legislation. Asparagus plants start off by growing one year and are cared for until there is a brief ten-day harvest in the following year Then the asparagus rests up to gather potency for next year. In the second cutting year, the asparagus is harvested for four weeks and then the normal eight to ten years from the third cutting year. The rule for all fields is that Midsummer's day (24 June) is when the season officially ends.