Between St George’s Day on 23 April to Midsummer’s Day on 21 June, it’s the Vale of Evesham Asparagus season. Although you can pick up local asparagus outside of this window, it’s generally perceived to be the best time at which to experience ‘Vale Gras’, as it’s affectionately known locally.

This precious vegetable is exclusive to this area having being granted protected food name status which specifically links it to a particular geographical area and indicates a certain level of quality. Asparagus grown in the Vale of Evesham is the only place to try this delicacy whether you decide to purchase it from one of the many local farm shops or visit one of the cafes and restaurants in the area that will be serving it.

Enjoy Asparagus Guide

To help connoisseurs find their way around the green ‘gras, we’ve put together this handy guide to give you the history of the area’s most famous vegetable as well and tips and advice on cooking it to get the best flavours.

If you don’t trust yourself with the cooking, you’ll find a list of places where you can enjoy it without the effort.

You’ll soon realise why it’s such a focal point of the local area!

History & About

Vale of Evesham Asparagus became more popular following the success of the famous asparagus auctions, at The Fleece Inn in Bretforton. Talks between tourism industry providers and local growers took place to decide how the area could capitalise on this popularity and “fill in” the week between the auctions at The Fleece with other asparagus related events.

The Vale Asparagus Festival was born!

In 2006, its first year, the festival attracted a lot of media interest and also many visitors to our area largely through the marketing efforts of The British Asparagus Growers Association. Plans for the 2007 festival progressed well, with festival friend and local celebrity Mr Henry Sandon MBE from BBC Antiques Roadshow opening the event. Celebrity chef Rachel Green became the face of the campaign and even attended the festival doing cookery demonstrations.

During the promotion of the 2007 event the Vale Asparagus Festival was being promoted by the media as “The British Asparagus Festival” and has been known by this name ever since. During this time, the festival was communicating with the Stockton Asparagus Festival in California – who were very interested in The Vale’s new venture. This was particularly exciting considering their festival is an enormous event worth many thousands of dollars to their local economy.

It’s protected!

The delicacy of Vale of Evesham Asparagus has supreme culinary status. It was awarded European protected food name status in 2015.

Protected geographical indication (PGI) status emphasises the relationship between the specific geographic region and the name of the product. It demonstrates when a particular quality, reputation or other characteristic is specific to its geographical origin.

This puts Vale of Evesham Asparagus into an elite group of foods and drinks which include Champagne, Cognac, Roquefort, Parmesan and Jersey Royal Potatoes.

The flavour and texture of Vale of Evesham Asparagus is driven by the growing conditions, a unique microclimate and soil environment in the Vale of Evesham alongside the local knowledge and experience of how best to grow the product.

All products using the name ‘Vale of Evesham Asparagus’ and using the PGI logo have to conform to the specification.

Specification of Vale of Evesham Asparagus

  • It is produced only between St George’s Day and Midsummers Day
  • It is within a specifically defined geographical area
  • The colour can vary from light green to dark green, with purple tips depending on the speed of growth and night-time temperatures
  • It is within certain curvature and seeding tolerances
  • It is within certain dimensions
  • It is sold either in a banded bundle, a flow wrapped pack or a plastic sleeve for supermarkets and naked in bundles for farm shops
  • Comprehensive records are kept by suppliers and growers relating to crown origin, crown delivery and method of production

Festival Characters


The Asparagus Man made his debut to the world at the opening event of the 2008 British Asparagus Festival in the Vale of Evesham. This larger than life character has gone on to be an ever-present figure at asparagus events.

Meet the Asparamancer

Jemima Packington, is the world’s first and only Asparamancer, meaning she’s actually able to predict the future using nothing more than a handful of asparagus, by tossing the spears into the air and interpreting how they land. She has made dozens of accurate predictions in recent years, including Brexit, Royal births, celebrity scandals and many sporting achievements.

Growing & Harvesting

Growing asparagus is a long-term commitment and a labour-intensive crop to grow. The crowns are grown from seeds for a year, transplanted and then grown for three years before harvesting can begin. The growing land is permanently dedicated to just that one crop, often for many years.

Asparagus plants start their life as seeds that produce crowns. These take a year to produce. Crowns are planted in furrows down the length of a field and kept weed free. Soils must be light and free-draining to ensure that the roots establish fast without obstacles in the ground. Fields are rotated, but generally cannot be replanted with asparagus for around 30 years due to the disease pressure built up in the soil. The Vale of Evesham is an important vegetable producing area as the soils are light, free-draining and warm up quickly in the spring. Heavier land outside the Evesham area is unsuitable as it does not drain freely enough for the crowns.

In the second year after planting, growers can take a first harvest cut for 1 to 2 weeks then leave the crown to regenerate. The first cut is taken from the moment the spears emerge in April.

By the third year yields take place between April and June.

When the spears are ready, they are cut by hand with a short serrated knife, firstly to measure the correct height of the spear and secondly to allow a push pull action to swiftly cut the spear at an angle just below soil level without knocking the spear into the soil.

The spears are then laid in field trays, tip facing tip, to avoid soil getting into the edible end of the vegetable. They must be refrigerated as quickly as possible to maintain life and quality. They are then stored in high humidity for up to a week and are not washed until marketing is arranged. The quality deteriorates fast post-washing so it is imperative that field stocks are managed locally.

Selling & Marketing

Traditionally sold in bundles, it can be “hundreded up” in 120 spear quantities for presentations and is held together by woven withy (willow twigs).

Health & Wellbeing

Asparagus can make you feel good by boosting your libido, as well as assisting in weight loss and detox. The levels of Vitamin C and E in this miracle vegetable also make it great for your skin, nails and hair!

Asparagus is a mild diuretic and is believed to help detoxify the body. Eaten regularly, asparagus packs an almighty punch to diseases such as cancer and heart disease as well as boosting your immune system.

Seven spears (80g) is equivalent to one 5-a-day serving. An 80g serving provides 60% of the recommended daily allowance of folic acid, which can help expectant mothers to stave off infection and boost iron absorption.

For social media updates on this years asparagus season please follow @thebritishasparagusfestival and @ValeandSpa on Facebook.