Asparagus harvesting season begins in valley

First shipment to market likely next week

— Killian Farms started cutting asparagus Monday, April 9, but the packing and shipping may not start until Monday, April 16.

The warmth of the days is bringing the spears up from the ground, but the still cool nights are discouraging a big cut.

Greg and Mark Killian, holdovers from the asparagus heydays in the Yakima Valley before1998, farm about 200 acres.

They still market to the same customers of back in the day.

“We ship all over — Tcxas, California, back East,” Mark Killian said.

The Killians even ship to Toronto, Canada.

This should be a good production year. Most of the fields are four years old, usually the start of peak production.

The challenge today, which could cause the Killians to drop out, is a labor shortage, Killian said. He’s not sure he’ll have all the cutters he needs when full harvest hits.

Monday, the crews cut less than 200 field lugs. They did about the same Tuesday.

Depending on the cuts through Friday, the Killians will pack and ship for the first time Saturday or Monday.

There are four packing lines. For efficiency, the Killians will start with one next week and add lines as needed.


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