North Bay Produce's Ken Korson Details Michigan Asparagus Season Outlook
TRAVERSE CITY, MI - Learning how asparagus is grown was one of the most exciting surprises from my early days in the produce industry, and this crop continues to keep my interest piqued. With the Michigan asparagus season underway, I got in contact with North Bay Produce Category Manager Ken Korson to hear what the company has in store.
“The quality this season is excellent—probably the best we have seen for this late in the season, mainly because of the cooler weather. The volume is a little down, but with the longer season, we may get caught up some depending on the volume of picks,” Ken told me. “The market is steady, but Southern Michigan is done picking, so the market by next week will get tight with only one growing region still harvesting.”
Asparagus is one of the few items that is not offered year-round from North Bay Produce. Because of the Michigan crop’s differentiation, the company decided years ago that as for asparagus, North Bay would only focus on Michigan’s short crop window. North Bay is about 75 percent done with this season, but will go through the end of June, which is a week longer than normal because of the cooler weather.
“We started 10 days later than normal because of cold weather, and when we started we got hot overnight which was hard to handle. But, we have cooled off and volume has leveled off which has made it easier to handle,” Ken stated.
From a pricing standpoint, the current market on asparagus is low, but prices are strengthening with the volume of asparagus being picked. Going forward, Ken expects supply to decrease and pricing to go up as we get to the end of June.
With North Bay providing a diverse range of asparagus products, I am confident that the company will continue meeting consumer demand at retail.
“North Bay is having another great year with conventional asparagus, organic asparagus, and purple asparagus, which offers our customers really great options and the best quality every year,” Ken relayed. “Also, being a grower-owned cooperative, North Bay Produce takes particular pride in doing things right and offering the best produce in the industry. For this reason, as well as the superior quality of Michigan asparagus, we hope people that have not tried it before, do. They will be glad they did.”
I could not agree more. As we continue to keep an eye on the fresh produce market, keep clicking back to ANUK.