One of the great delights of New Zealand’s spring is asparagus rolled in fresh, white bread; steamed and served with a little butter; or juicy and delicious from the barbecue, says Mike Arnold, Chairman of the New Zealand Asparagus Council.

“The weather has been kind to us and the quality and taste of New Zealand grown asparagus is excellent this season, but it is going to be a relatively short season so people should start enjoying asparagus now. We expect asparagus harvesting to finish early to mid-December,” says Mike Arnold.

“With spring horse racing, including Canterbury’s Cup and show week (10-17 November) where the picnic hampers and barbecues come out, you can’t go past asparagus.

“The 2018 Horowhenua Taste Trail on Saturday, 24 November will be the place to get your asparagus direct from the growers Lewis Farms.

“Stocks will become limited the closer we get to Christmas so it’s best to enjoy fresh healthy asparagus now.”

Asparagus is grown throughout New Zealand with the key growing regions being Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Horowhenua and Canterbury. In a typical season, growers produce about 2,000 to 2,200 tonnes. While most of that is enjoyed here, there is a growing export market with the Japanese particularly keen on the sweeter flavour of New Zealand-grown asparagus.

While you can’t beat New Zealand-grown asparagus, we aren’t the only country that loves this delicious dish, which has been valued for its health properties for centuries – asparagus is pictured as an offering on an Egyptian frieze dating to 3000 BC. In Stockton, California they hold an annual festival to celebrate asparagus, as does the city of Hart, Michigan, complete with a parade and asparagus queen.

You can find out more about asparagus and how to buy and cook it here.

– Horticulture NZ