Diners in Yorkshire can sit down to an Easter lunch that includes asparagus this weekend after the unseasonably warm weather meant the season began earlier.
Asparagus farmers are predicting that British spears will be on the supermarket shelves this weekend – a week ahead of the season’s usual start.
Traditionally, commercial cutting for the outdoor-grown crop begins on St George’s Day, although this varies according to region.
Farmers are optimistic about the upcoming season. The hot summer last year means that there is plenty of energy in the crop and asparagus lovers can look forward to a longer season than normal.
ITV This Morning Chef and pub owner Marcus Bean said: “It’s like Christmas Day for chefs and foodies when the first bunches of asparagus arrive in the kitchen. For the months that asparagus is available, it never leaves my menu.”
Josh Eggleton, chef at the Michelin-starred Pony and Trap restaurant near Bristol, said: “The British asparagus season is very short, which makes it all the more exciting when we get the first batch in. Because of its unique flavour and lovely texture, it will feature in a least three dishes: a simple chilled soup, a starter of pan fried pheasant egg, and a chargrilled asparagus and radish salad.”
Few vegetables can boast the upsurge in demand that asparagus has experienced in the last 12 years. The number of households in the UK that buy asparagus during the British season has risen to almost 4.5 million.