Lying in the southern hemisphere the Australian Asparagus season is at the opposite end of the year to the European and North American seasons. Cutting lasts from September through to March due to the variety of climates across the continent.
Australia is the 8th largest producer of asparagus by weight but only the 12th biggest by area which indicates that yields are higher than the global average. Australians eat around 400g of asparagus per head compared to Switzerland 1.5kg and Germany 1.12kg per head.
Most of the asparagus grown is the green variety with a limited amount of the purple variety produced in November. A small amount of white asparagus is grown. This white asparagus is largley produced by being grown under black tunnels of plastic denying the growing spears of the light required to turn it green.
95% of Australia's Asparagus is grown in Victoria with Koo Wee Rup the main centre. The balance of production grows in New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia.
In March 2010 Koo Wee Rup suffered from severe flooding during the cutting season. It is hoped that the 2011 crop will not be affected.
Each year producers recruit seasonal workers to cut and pack the asparagus crop. For further informatin follow this link.
70% of Victoria's production is exported with 85% of that going to Japan where asparagus is a very popular vegetable. With rapid air freighting the exported asparagus can be on sale in Japan just 30 hours after cutting.
Other export markets include Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea and Taiwan.
Where does asparagus come from in the off season for Australians to eat?
During the winter season when local asparagus is not available Australians get to eat Asparagus imported from Peru, Thailand, Mexico and the USA.
During asparagus season their is pently of Asparagus Themed activity in the growing areas. Watch out for your local farmers markets for any special cooking / tasting activities. Also watch for any asparagus themed events at the
Royal Melbourne Show.
We'll keep you posted on any events we see advertised.
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