• 120 Michigan family farms harvest approximately 20 million pounds of asparagus on 9,500 acres of land. 
  • More than 40% of the crop is sold fresh in supermarkets, restaurants, farmers markets, and roadside stands. 
  • Approximately 60% of the crop is frozen, canned, or pickled. 
  • Michigan Asparagus season begins in late April-early May in the southwest corner of the state; it wraps up in late June Up North. 
  • It takes four years for an asparagus field to fully mature; fields last for approximately 20 years. 
  • A mature field is picked 25-35 times per season. 
  • About 500 million asparagus spears are harvested by hand each year, just as they reach the perfect height. 
  • Asparagus spears can grow 1/2 inches per hour under ideal conditions; occasionally a field is picked 2x per day. 
  • Michigan ranks #2 in asparagus production (CA is #1, WA is #3). 
  • Farmers can harvest both white and green asparagus off the same plant. Asparagus is planted about 10 inches below the soil surface. All spears are white until they poke out of the ground and photosynthesis turns them green. White asparagus spears are dug of the ground just as they are beginning to surface. Harvesting white asparagus is very labor intensive. Most of the product comes from South America, where labor is much cheaper. 
  • Purple asparagus is relatively new and is a product of conventional plant breeding (NOT GMO). Purple asparagus has caught on as a novelty vegetable and - as a result - there is a worldwide shortage of purple asparagus seed. The product turns dark green when cooked. 
  • A single asparagus plant can produce 25 or more spears over the 7-week harvest season. Once the harvest is complete, the remaining spears are allowed to grow up and leaf out. These plants will grow up to six feet tall and, once leafed, will look like giant ferns. This fern is nurtured all summer and feeds the root system for the following year's harvest. 
  • Asparagus is part of the lily family and is believed to have originated in the Mediterranean area. Asparagus was once a prized food with both medicinal and aphrodisiac qualities.