Recent rain and flooding Northwest of London, has forced organisers of the annual British Asparagus Festival to cancel the event, for lack of asparagus. Organizers said that, after an unusually warm March, the flooding that followed heavy rain and cool temperatures in April had left the seasonal vegetable “almost completely dormant”. After the River Avon burst its banks, flood waters left the Vale of Evesham, Worcestershire (the event’s venue), under several inches of water. And yes, the Asparamancer was due to be there.
Organizer Angela Tidmarsh said:
“We were expecting asparagus to be scarce due to the unseasonably good weather at the start of the year followed by the recent deluge. However, this week’s flooding means that the asparagus crop is almost completely dormant. What’s more, the venue for the festival has been under several inches of water when the River Avon burst its banks. It’s ironic as the British Asparagus Festival was started as a way of helping the area recover after the severe floods of 2007.”
The British Asparagus Growers’ Association has reported the earliest recorded, but small, crop of the vegetable due to the hot March, but said that with cooler temperatures and rain, production had ostensibly come to a halt.
In a continued interview with Organizer Angela Tidmarsh, she said there were plans to continue celebrating asparagus throughout May and it was hoped the crop would be available for the asparagus auction at the Fleece, at Bretforton on May 27. The “king of asparagus”, due to be crowned at this weekend’s festival, will instead receive their crown of asparagus spears at the auction.
More cool weather forecast means it could be another ten days to two weeks before asparagus reaches British shops in full volume. Growers say this year’s harvest is likely to be short but particularly intense. Plants that had been stunted would pick up pace when the weather improved.