US asparagus industry sees slight recovery

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By SHANNON DININNY, Associated Press

PASCO, Wash. (AP) — Asparagus farmers crushed for decades by a flood of South American imports have begun to expand production again in the hope that healthy eating trends will help bolster prices and sales of their stalks.

U.S. asparagus production is only about a third of what it was 25 years ago, thanks in large part to a pair of moves by the federal government to combat drug trafficking and improve economic trade. Those deals boosted production in Peru and Mexico.

But growers in California and Washington, the nation's top two producers, say demand appears strong, and many are replanting old fields with new varieties expected to boost production.

Alan Schreiber of the Washington Asparagus Commission says the state has seen more new plantings the past two years than in a decade.

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