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In Time For Easter: Northwest Asparagus Popping Up Early

Northwest asparagus fields are sprouting about 10 days earlier than usual this spring. It’s in time for Easter brunch, but a headache for farmers.

They have to keep their fields trimmed all the time to bring up new shoots, and workers are forced to cover a lot of ground.

“Getting started early, it can be big trouble for us because say Mexico is still going and they have a lot of production and if they are going the market’s already flooded,” said Gary Larsen, an asparagus farmer north of Pasco, Washington.

Larsen explained that when there is too much production in Mexico, California and Washington all at once, the prices go down for farmers.

So far, the weather has been just warm enough to get the plants starting to sprout. But it’s not warm enough to get the full production. Larsen said he’s hoping for temperatures in the upper 60s soon.

Gary Larsen has lived on this farm north of Pasco since about age 5. He's expert at growing one of the nation's toughest and highly competitive crops -- asparagus.
Anna King / Northwest News Network
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Northwest News Network
Gary Larsen has lived on this farm north of Pasco since about age 5. He's expert at growing one of the nation's toughest and highly competitive crops -- asparagus.
Jesus Serrano and other workers all from the Sinaloa region of Mexico bend to the work of cutting asparagus at a farm north of Pasco. A good worker can earn as much as $20 an hour piece rate on a high-production day.
Anna King / Northwest News Network
/
Northwest News Network
Jesus Serrano and other workers all from the Sinaloa region of Mexico bend to the work of cutting asparagus at a farm north of Pasco. A good worker can earn as much as $20 an hour piece rate on a high-production day.

Copyright 2015 Northwest News Network

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.