As Swiss restaurants update their spring menus with asparagus dishes, Swiss farmers are continually expanding their production of the crisp vegetable.
Each year, consumers in Switzerland nibble on 11,000 tonnes of asparagus. Yet last year, only about 670 tonnes of it was locally grown, despite local efforts to boost production. In 2016, the Swiss cultivation area for green varieties of asparagus grew by about 6% to 223 hectares. For white asparagus, the area increased by 5% to 168 hectares, reports Swiss agricultural information service LIDexternal link.
A decade ago, the area of Swiss land used to grow asparagus was less than half of what it is today. Still, last year the yield only covered about 6% of the demand for asparagus in Switzerland, where annual consumption is 1.4 kilograms per capita – meaning that there was only enough Swiss asparagus to satisfy about half a million people.
To meet the demand, Swiss supermarkets typically import asparagus from Italy and Spain, but also from as far away as Mexico.