Organic farming consists in developing a production of fruit or a production of vegetables (in this case the production of asparagus) with the maximum respect for natural resources, in order to preserve the environment and the consumer health.
Like all varieties of fruit and vegetables that are more traded, even asparagus are now evaluated from an organic point of view, in accordance with the possible parasite control done through available phytosanitary products; nowadays more attention is given to organic agriculture and with it to the production of organic asparagus, as it is a farming that aims at prevention and acts especially to improve soil fertility, with the purpose to control, reduce or eliminate cultivation problems.
More and more producers of organic asparagus, importers of organic asparagus, exporters of organic asparagus, wholesalers of organic asparagus and retailers of organic asparagus have embraced methods and values of organic farming.
The organic production of asparagus in Italy currently affects only a few hectares, but looks promising for the possibility of conquering new market niches; moreover, the price of the organic asparagus is less variable in spring.
The cultivation technique is essentially identical to the conventional one, except from the prohibition of using herbicides, chemical fertilizers and normal phytosanitary principals. First of all, it is better to use organic fertilizers with known origins, since those made of fish, poultry manure and waste, transmit unpleasant odors and flavour to the shoots of asparagus. The variety of asparagus suitable for organic farming should also be quite tolerant in the fight against pests that harm the foliage of the plant of asparagus. The amount of collectable shoots each year, must also be rigorously evaluated based on the summer vegetation of the previous year, in particular as regards the vigor of the plants, the grassing and the incidence of disease.
The choice of the variety of asparagus for organic agriculture therefore should not differ too much from the traditional production of asparagus, but differ only for some peculiar characteristic, like those already mentioned. The choice of the variety of asparagus is based not only on the knowledge of its susceptibility to any parasites, but also on the basis of agronomic aspects and productivity aspects typical to the cultivation considered.
In March 2000 the European Commission introduced a logo bearing the wordsOrganic Farming - Controle Regime EEC (Regulation (EEC) n. 2092/91), designed to be used on a voluntary basis by producers of asparagus, importers of asparagus, exporters of asparagus, wholesalers of asparagus and retailers of asparagus , whose methods of production and whose fruit and vegetable products had been subjected to a control and had been found to be compliant with the EU standards.
As regards this matter,the European Commission said that consumers who buy organic asparagus from Europe can be sure that at least 95% of the ingredients of the final product based on asparagus have been produced with an organic method, and that the final product complies with the rules of the official control regime.
Organic asparagus , according to this legislation, should also come directly from the producer of green asparagus or from the producer of white asparagus, or from who prepares the sealed packaging (workers involved in the packaging of asparagus and of 4th range products). Finally, the product must bear the name of the producer of asparagus, of the fruit and vegetable company that deals with asparagus or of the retailer of asparagus, as well as the name or the code number of the control body.
Since that of asparagus is a cultivation that suits well to all kind of processing and climate, almost all the varieties that are described can be used for the production of organic asparagus by organic agriculture, perhaps with the wisdom to prefer varieties of green asparagus and varieties of white asparagus more early, as late varieties of plants of asparagus can be more easily attacked by pests of plants of asparagus or by asparagus deseases.