How Does Asparagus Grow?
Asparagus plants grow more like fruit trees, instead of like most other vegetables. Let me explain! When an asparagus plant establishes itself, it forms a crown underground. The roots grow from the crown, which is also where the buds form. Buds are crucial to the success of the plant since each bud results in one individual asparagus spear. Over time, the crown grows larger and larger because every time a new bud is formed, only one asparagus spear will form from that.
Asparagus Harvesting & Packing
To take a glimpse into the world of asparagus harvest and packing, see the detailed video below.
Is all asparagus ready for harvest at the same time?
Since asparagus spears grow at random, an entire field is not ready for harvest at one time. The harvesters have to walk the fields and determine which asparagus meet the quality requirements (e.g., maturity stage, height) and are ready for harvest. The asparagus that are not yet ready for harvest will be left in the field, and the harvesters will return days later once those spears are ready for harvest.
Asparagus Harvesting - Selecting Spears
How is Asparagus Harvested?
The harvesting process consists of the workers walking through the fields with an asparagus knife and when the asparagus spear is ready for harvest, the workers slide the asparagus knife underneath the soil mound to make the cut. They do this because if they were to make the cut above the soil, the plants acts as though it will rejuvenate another spear from that same bud and continues utilizing plant resources to attempt to make that happen. However, as we learned previously, no two spears arise from the same bud.
Asparagus Harvesting - Using the Asparagus Knife
Once the spears are harvested, the workers place them into the harvesting buckets that they wear over their shoulders. Once those fill up, the harvesters empty them out on the soil mounds and form piles of asparagus. Another portion of the harvest crew goes through the field and picks up the asparagus and places them into bins, which are then transported to the packinghouse.
Asparagus Harvesting - Picking Up Harvested Spears
Asparagus Harvesting - Loading Asparagus Spears into Bins
The asparagus arrive at the packinghouse in the field packed bins. From there, they are either ran through a manual packing line or an automated packing line. The goal of being ran through either packing line is to result in rinsed asparagus that is sorted into bunches based on the diameter of the asparagus spear. When the bunches are packed into boxes, they are packed by the size of the spear. You have probably never seen asparagus come in boxes like these, but they are just filled with the asparagus bunches that you buy at the grocery store.
Asparagus Packing - Packed Asparagus
Asparagus Packing - Packed Asparagus
Box Formation – The boxes are formed on site. They are then transported overhead to both the manual and automated packing lines for easy access to the packers.
Asparagus Packing - Box Formation
Bin Removal – The asparagus is manually removed from the field packed bins and placed on the packing line.
Asparagus Packing - Bin Removal
Initial Trim – The asparagus go through an initial trimming step to make them a more uniform length.
Asparagus Packing - Asparagus Spear Trimming
Wash Step – After being trimmed, the asparagus go through a single-pass rinse step using sanitized water.
Asparagus Packing - Rinse Step
Sorting – In the manual packing line, the workers sort out the individual asparagus spears based on their diameter.
Asparagus Packing - Hand Sorting Asparagus
In the automated packing line, a machine does this. Each spear is placed into its own cup (workers are needed to make sure there is only one spear per cup for measuring purposes), and goes through an optical sorter that sorts the spears based on diameter and drops them into collecting containers.
Asparagus Packing - Optical Sorter
Asparagus Packing - Collecting Containers
Asparagus Packing - Automated Sorted Asparagus Bunches
Packing into Bunches – In the manual packing line, workers take the sorted asparagus and create bunches based on spear diameter. When doing this, they use a tool that helps shape the bunch and easily place the rubber bands around them. They are then transported overhead and pass through a second trimming step to make them more uniform in length.
Asparagus Packing - Forming Asparagus Bunches
Asparagus Packing - Bunch Cutting Asparagus
In the automated packing line, workers move the sorted asparagus from the collecting containers into separate containers on the packing line, so that they can be transported to have the rubber bands mechanically placed around the bunches.
Quality Assurance – Random bunches are selected and weighed to make sure they meet the customer weight specifications.
Asparagus Packing - Quality Control
Packing into Boxes – In both scenarios, workers pack the bunches into boxes based on the diameter of the asparagus spears.
Asparagus Packing - Packing Asparagus Boxes
Labeling – Once full, each of the boxes are labeled to indicate the packing date.
Asparagus Packing - Labeling Packed Asparagus Boxes
Quality Assurance – The final quality assurance step consists of weighing the packed boxes. This step is performed to verify that the box weight meets the customer specifications.
Asparagus Packing - Quality Control
Hydrocooler – The packed asparagus boxes are closed and ran through a hydrocooler. The hydrocooler works to remove the field heat and to quickly cool down the asparagus.
Asparagus Packing - Hydrocooler
Cold Storage – The hydrocooled boxes arrive at the cooler, where they are palletized by box size and shape. They are stored in the cooler until transport.
Asparagus Packing - Palletizing
World’s largest grower of asparagus: Altar:
We are a family owned and operated business committed to offering the very best quality fruits and vegetables.
Starting in 1955 with only 20 Acres and by packing asparagus under the shade of a tree, Altar has grown to become the world’s largest grower of fresh asparagus with over a dozen state of the art packaging and transportation facilities. This same vision was applied when expanding into our other commodities, which include green onions, brussel sprouts, grapes, parsley, broccoli, avocados, cilantro, radish, spinach and more.
With over 60 years of experience, growing, packing, and shipping, we can guarantee the highest quality fruits and vegetables exceeding your expectations in flavor, color and freshness.
YEARS OF EXPERIENCE
HECTARES IN MEXICO
TONS OF ASPARAGUS PER YEAR
We were the first to pioneer and introduce asparagus into Latin America.
Our family was the first to introduce asparagus into Latin America. Currently, we have 12,952 Hectares planted in Mexico producing more than 68,500 Tons of fresh green asparagus per year yielding more than 11 Million 5kg cartons.
CABORCA SONORA ASDF
SAN LUIS R.C, SONORA
Peru offers many production advantages, primarily the flexibility of harvesting different regions. Currently, we produce more than 5 Million 1kg cartons of fresh green asparagus.
Year Round Production
Two harvesting regions per season minimizing any production gaps.
Asparagus circular grader Easy Grade: mechanical grading machine, it can be used by a single operator. Cut, wash and calibration within 1,5 sqm only. The washing tunnel has 14 spray nozzles. Selection of 4 changeable calibers.
Electronic asparagus sorter: these sorters may have up to 128 outputs, with the combination of the calibration parameters (diameter, length, color, bending, withering, color of the collar, the shoot color). They can be completed with the washing tunnel (up to 60 high pressure nozzles) pre-cutting and cutting systems to suit the specific needs of each client. We have been harvesting asparagus since 2005 and are proud to be one of the UK’s largest and most innovative asparagus growers. With our advanced technology and enterprising packing techniques, we are able to lock in the freshness immediately after harvesting, and offer beautifully presented and consistent end products. Leading the market in supplying asparagus from February until November, our autumn asparagus has been very well received by chefs, food writers and the public alike. We also grow asparagus in Norfolk and Suffolk and supply locally, to national supermarkets, and to the wholesale markets.
SOLID BOARD ASPARAGUS PACKAGING FOR TRANSPORT AND SALES
SOLIDUS SOLUTIONS has developed Small Portion Pack (SPP), a specific solid board concept for asparaugs packaging. The new SPP design, that can be used as transport as well as sales packaging, ensures that the delicate asparagus do not slide against each other during transport and that the vegetables are optimally presented in the store.
Fruit & vegetables
Asparagus packaging for transport
Safe and fast
Asparagus-Small Portion Packaging-Solidus-Solutions-2
The new asparagus packaging helps with the protection of your product. The asparagus cannot move, therefore, cannot break inside the box. There is also sufficient space between the tip of the asparagus and the upper part of the SPP in order to protect the product anytime, also during the transportation process.
The asparagus remain fresh since it is possible to pack the asparagus in refrigerated rooms with curtains of mist. Our SPP, made of recycled solid board, is eminently suitable for cold and humid environments.
The Small Portion Pack (SPP) is can be set up manually and is easy to fill thanks to the “open close system” of the package. The packing process is therefore more environmentally conscious and more efficient compared to other packaging materials, such as corrugated board, which also requires an extra plastic bag to fill the box in a food-safe way.
Asparagus packaging for sales
Retail ready packaging (RRP)
Asparagus-Small Portion Packaging-Solidus-Solutions
The retail ready asparagus packaging (‘Retail Ready Packaging’) lead to a potentially higher turnover and lower costs in your logistics chain. By using the SPP, which is specifically produced for small quantities (1-2 persons), you make life easier for the consumer. In addition, profitability improves from the factory floor to the supermarket, by reducing costs in the supply chain and improving availability on the shelf.
This solid board packaging is also excellent to print with the highest quality printing techniques. The recesses at the top and bottom ensure good visibility of the asparagus and optimal product presentation.