by Rob Gaston, May 5th, 2015
I am guessing you have never heard of MAAB, am I right? I had not either, until this morning I visited www.asparagus.org and learned of the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board. Who knew our neighbor to the north housed a repository of knowledge about our “speary” ingredient of the month? After visiting their website, I learned that asparagus can grow 10 inches in a 24 hour period! And did you know that new plantings can not be harvested until they have developed a deep and strong root system, which takes 3 years? Nutritionally, asparagus is one of the leading suppliers of folic acid, is a good source of potassium and fiber, and has less than 4 calories per spear.
Not so far to the north and here in our state, Ralph and Joanna Knapp are known as asparagus royalty for miles around their DeMotte farm. Ralph started growing asparagus for the Stokely-Van Camp company in 1969 for canning, back when gasoline was 30 cents per gallon and asparagus sold for 20 cents per pound. One of the things the Knapps have learned is that sandy soil and deep trenches are necessary when planting new rootstock.
Check out this article for more information, and to learn how the weather impacts the growth and harvest of the crop. Now is the time to fill up on folic acid with some fresh Indiana asparagus, which according to Knapp will peak around the third week of April.