Germany sees worst asparagus harvest in a decade

Germany sees worst asparagus harvest in a decade

Spargelzeit is here, but not with the same wham-bam as normal. Germany’s asparagus harvest of 2023 is the worst in 10 years, according to Destatis. Do the stats mark the beginning of the end for Germany’s pride in the homegrown harvest?

Germany's worst asparagus season since 2013

You made have seen them on the Edeka shelves already, those ghostly stems which threaten to take significant real estate on your plate, claiming to be the main event. It’s almost Easter and Spargelzeit is here, but with less land dedicated to the königliche Gemüse, the harvest isn’t what it once was.

Recently released Destatis figures show that the 110.300 tonnes gathered in Germany’s 2022 harvest is an 8 percent drop on 2021. Figures this low haven’t been seen since 2013, when the harvest produced 103.100 tonnes.

The events of 2021 led to Germany looking to its neighbours to supply a springtime demand. In 2021 the majority of asparagus imported to Germany came from Spain, Greece, Italy and Peru.

Will less land be dedicated to asparagus production

Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia and Brandenburg are the German federal states responsible for the largest asparagus production. Asparagus plants occupy 21.300 hectares of Germany’s arable land. Onions are the second most popular crop with 15.100 hectares and carrots are third with 13.600.

But while asparagus remains Germany’s most planted vegetable, the amount of land in the federal republic that is being dedicated to growing the green and white stems is dwindling.

Critics point out that much of Germany’s pride-and-joy asparagus is picked by migrant workers from Eastern Europe who are compensated with low wages for very physically demanding work. And according to farmers, cheap imports and the rising cost of paying domestic workers mean that businesses are choosing to outsource, a decision which will likely lead to less and less of Germany’s land being dedicated to the vegetable.

Thumb image credit: barmalini /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan

Editor for Germany at IamExpat Media. Olivia first came to Germany in 2013 to work as an Au Pair. Since studying English Literature and German in Scotland, Freiburg and Berlin...

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