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Desert Farms offering purple asparagus

This February, purple asparagus from Desert Farms will be available for an initial, short deal.

Desert Farms produces Bram Hulshoff, CEO, said Desert Farms, which produces almost 4,000 acres of asparagus in Caborca, Sonora, enjoyed a successful purple asparagus trial a year ago.

These plantings were expanded to reach a commercial volume this winter.

2018-11-20-Desert-Farms For the 2020 deal, Desert Farms expects to have purple asparagus availability for 12 weeks, running from February into April.

Hulshoff, noted that purple asparagus is a little sweeter than green asparagus. It also has more antioxidants than green asparagus. It is best to grill purple asparagus, and not boil it in water.

A year ago, The Produce News reported that Desert Farms had entered the organic green asparagus business with almost 300 acres of organic green, USDA-certified organic production.

That organic category remains available this winter.

In Caborca this year, Desert Farms added and removed some asparagus acreage, thus roughly maintaining the 3,900 acres from a year ago. “We’ll be expanding for 2020,” Hulshoff said.

A large percentage of that production is harvested in February and March. He said some growers in Caborca or nearby San Luis, Sonora, have tried to extend their season to begin in November, December; and even in September “when the market is not so saturated. We tried to have a September harvest in one location and it didn’t work,” he noted.

This year Desert Farms worked toward an October harvest but heavy rains in mid-October activated crown growth and took plant energy away from producing spears. Cold weather late this fall slowed the plants and forced energy to again be stored in the roots, which is good for January harvest.

Hulshoff said Desert Farms packs in seven different types of asparagus packaging. Two of those are for the North American market. The firm also supplies the varied demands of buyers in Asia and many European countries.

Hulshoff joined Desert Farms in 2014. Prior to that time, the grower had outsourced its sales effort to brokers. Hulshoff took on sales for the firm, including development of offshore exports.

Hulshoff, who’s a native of Holland, worked in the Peruvian asparagus business for seven years. He worked for a year in California before joining Desert Farms.

Desert Farms grows 100 percent of the asparagus that it sells. The firm uses the Desert Farms brand.

The Desert Farms Group is based in El Centro, CA, and is the exclusive sales agent for, and a subsidiary of, the Sonora grower, Horticola Del Desierto.