It’s a sad but true fact of life: it’s hard to celebrate something with its own festival when there’s not enough of it to go around. Normally, this weekend would see the Worcestershire's Vale of Evesham transformed for two days of revelry over asparagus candies, asparagus soaps, asparagus pies, and other such sundry pleasures celebrating all things Asparagus officinalis. But this year, a massive asparagus shortage due to inclement weather has forced organizers of Worcestershire’s annual British Asparagus Festival to call the whole thing off.
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Asparagus farmers were already dealing with some strange and unpredictable weather – namely an unusually warm March, which caused an early crop, followed by chilly soil and heavy rains in April which knocked that crop right back out. But the mayhem resulting from flooding of the River Avon has reportedly dealt an even bigger blow – the normal venue for the festival is now underwater. At this rate, Asparagus Festival organizers don’t see any way to overcome these obstacles by this weekend, leaving organizers no choice but to put all asparagus-related festivities on hold. In a release on the British Asparagus Festival website, organizer Angela Tidmarsh wrote:
“We were expecting asparagus to be scarce due to the unseasonally [sic] good weather at the start of the year followed by the recent deluge. However, this week’s flooding means that the asparagus crop is almost completely dormant. What’s more, the venue for the festival has been under several inches of water when the River Avon burst its banks.
It’s ironic as the British Asparagus Festival was started as a way of helping the area recover after the severe floods of 2007”.
Still, Tidmarsh and other organizers of the festival are optimistic that the UK asparagus shortage won’t last the whole season. She expressed hope in her statement that Worcestershire will still be able to celebrate asparagus properly throughout May, especially if the crop is able to recover in time for May 27’s auction at the Fleece at Bretforton. “At this rate, it will be selling at record prices,” she added, ending the statement on a note to help asparagus farmers keep thinking positive.