Early asparagus ruined by cold temperatures

Fresh asparagus is displayed for sale at an outdoor market in Arlington, Va., May 24, 2014. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The cold overnight temperatures Michigan saw early this week did some damage to the state’s asparagus harvest.

Most of that damage is concentrated in Oceana County farms and farther north.

“Monday morning found us well below freezing for a number of hours and it took basically everything that was above the ground, froze off,” Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board Executive Director John Bakker told 24 Hour News 8.

Michigan produces about 20 million pounds of asparagus each year — the second most of any state, according to the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board.

May is go time for the vegetable. Bakker estimates the damage ruined about 5 to 8 percent of the total harvest for the state, which equals more than a million dollars.

Despite the frost, the board is remaining optimistic about what’s still in the ground.

“We’re fortunate that 90 to 95 percent of our crop was still underground waiting to come up, so we’re already starting to see new spears emerging,” Bakker explained.

The crop will be in peak production the second half of the month, but shoppers will this year’s asparagus harvest as early as next week.