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For Immediate Release

February 24, 2012

Media Contact:
Cherie Watte Angulo, Executive Director
California Asparagus Commission
1432 McCabe Cove Road
El Centro, CA 92243
(760) 356-4906/ccwatte@calasparagus.com

California Asparagus Growers Busy Working Fields Hoping Market Improves

Optimal weather is allowing California Asparagus growers to work their fields in preparation for the 2012 season. Warmer than normal weather is resulting in spears peaking through the beds. While a few growers are harvesting, the majority of California’s growers continue to work their beds hoping price improves making it economically viable to harvest the crop.

Newly re-elected CAC Chairman Marc Marchini of AM Farms says "as a California grower, I am proud of the product we put in the box. Consumers look forward to enjoying California’s premium crop. We hope buyers recognize the demand for California’s exemplary product and transition to California grown asparagus."

Because a select number of California growers are harvesting, retailers can source high quality California asparagus today. However, promotable quantities of fresh California Asparagus are likely to hit the market early March. Harvest timing will vary depending on market and weather conditions. Growers anticipate top quality asparagus for the 2012 season as the weather forecast is ideal. CAC Executive Director Cherie Watte Angulo says she "hopes California asparagus demands a premium price for it’s unsurpassed and consistent quality."

California asparagus industry representatives anticipate plentiful supplies of high quality California asparagus to be available March through June. Retailers are invited to visit the Commission’s newly redesigned website, www.calasparagus.com, to review current industry information and promotional materials.

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Media Contact:
McClure & Tjerandsen
1670 Ridge Road, Sonoma, CA 95476
telephone (707) 938-8400
fax (707) 938-8455

Banner Season Projected For California Asparagus

Generally cooler than normal weather in California continues to slow spear development in asparagus beds. Some growers at the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley have started to harvest limited volumes, as have a few Westside growers. The Salinas Valley will start shortly, with the principal Delta growing area still a week away from the start of harvest.

Marc Marchini of A M Farms says that "daytime temperatures have been warm enough to help the asparagus mature, but low temperatures at night discourage the spears from emerging. Additional time in the beds improves quality, so we're optimistic that this is going to be a great year for California asparagus".

Cherie Watte, Executive Director of the California Asparagus Commission confirmed that once the renewal of the Marketing Order was passed by a wide margin, the growers approved an aggressive promotion campaign to help retailers move asparagus into shopper's carts. The plan includes a series of product usage ideas for consumers and foodservice press releases, market-proven point-of-sale materials to call attention to this high-impulse purchase item and sales incentive programs for commercial and non-commercial foodservice segments. Full information regarding all of these materials and programs can be found on the recently refurbished calasparagus.com web site.

Cherie added that "with the help of Mother Nature, this could be our best asparagus season ever". It is expected that the harvest will continue through early June.