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Bavaria: Bad weather is slow to make asparagus grow
The asparagus season starts a bit delayed this year. The unfavorable weather conditions - ground frost and storm Niklas - slow down the growth of the popular vegetables. A bigger harvest is not to be expected in Bavaria in two weeks, explains Hans Höfler, chairman of the asparagus producer association Franken, in an interview with the news agency "dpa". Consumers also have to be prepared for higher asparagus prices due to the collective wage for the harvest workers.
Cool temperatures have a negative effect on the asparagus harvest. The cold allows the asparagus to grow slowly. According to Höfler, consumers would have to wait about two weeks before a more lavish harvest of asparagus can be expected. Asparagus Queen Miriam Adel and Minister of Agriculture Helmut Brunner (CSU) managed to prick the first open-air stalks at the opening of the Bavarian asparagus season in 2015.
The asparagus needs a soil warmed by the sun for optimal growing conditions. The current nighttime frost on the ground has a counterproductive effect. "However, we would now need tropical warmth so that there are large quantities of asparagus in the short term," Höfler continues. Due to the cool temperatures and the low harvest, the district of Fuhr decided to postpone the opening of the asparagus season by a week.
In addition to the unfavorable weather, many farmers and consumers are also concerned about the rising prices of asparagus. This is mainly due to the rising wage costs. Although the farmers do not have to pay their harvest workers a minimum wage, a collective wage applies. In 2015, farmers will have to pay their helpers around 7.40 euros an hourly wages, next year even 8.50 euros. The Bavarian Farmers' Association is therefore expecting a price increase for asparagus.
Asparagus fresh from the region Asparagus is a "prime example of a regional and seasonal product," said Agriculture Minister Brunner at the opening of the asparagus season to the news agency. In Bavaria, freshness and quality of the vegetables could be guaranteed thanks to the short distances from the field to the consumer.
In Bavaria, asparagus is grown on an area of 2,500 hectares, making it the most important vegetable in terms of area, ahead of onions and pickles. The largest growing region is the area around Schrobenhausen. On average, 6.2 tons of asparagus were harvested per hectare last year, a record total of 15,226 tons.
> Image: w.r.wagner / pixelio.de