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Valley Asparagus Season Underway Early

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(Sacramento, CA)
Thursday, March 28, 2013

Lack of rain and cooler temperatures have seen the Delta's asparagus crop off to a slow start. Labor and foreign imports are also adding to the problems.

Asparagus harvested in Mexico is competing with California asparagus.

The Mexican imports are cheaper and forcing local prices down.

Grower Marc Marchini says the harvest season in the Delta started early because the winter was so dry, however production has been limited by cooler temperatures.

MARCHINI: "The nighttime temperatures didn't get above 40 degrees to the point where we can have some good warming trends so that our production picks up."

Labor has been a problem too.

Marchini says he's seen a drop of 15-20 percent in the number of field workers available this year.

MARCHINI:  "People actually out here right now bidding for labor. I've had to come up with my per hour rate just to keep my crew."

Despite the problems, Marchini says if the Delta asparagus harvest lasts another 8 weeks, farmers will have a good year.

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