SOURCE Magazine Summer 2022 July 2022 | Page 6

How a GROWMARK Board Member manages a successful asparagus operation in Ontario
4 SOURCE | Summer 2022

Harvesting One of the Fastest Growing Crops

How a GROWMARK Board Member manages a successful asparagus operation in Ontario

Chris Grogan , GROWMARK Publications and Media Relations Manager cgrogan @ growmark . com
Kim Fysh stops to talk with workers who are helping to harvest the 70 acres of asparagus .
It ’ s a cool June morning when I arrive at Kim Fysh ’ s farm here in Ontario .
“ We ’ ve got a little bit of a break today ,” says Fysh as he greets me .
It was a welcome break for the crews harvesting the fields of asparagus here , which can grow up to an inch an hour under the warm summer sun . Fysh points across the horizon to one field that is several feet tall , saying he just didn ’ t have enough workers to harvest it quick enough this year .
“ It just got out from under us too quick , so we had to let that one go ,” he adds .
Fysh , who has been on the GROWMARK Board of Directors for more than ten years now , says his family has been growing asparagus on this land since 1998 .
“ My wife Merry and I started with just two acres , which has now grown to more than 70 acres of asparagus ,” Fysh adds . “ She is an integral partner in the operation . I could not do without her input . She does all the invoicing and supervises the loading of the reefer trucks .”
Asparagus typically grows best in cooler climates with long winters , and once late spring hits , it ’ s one of the first crops ready to harvest .
“ We typically start running in the first couple weeks of May and are done by the end of June ,” Fysh adds .
The irony behind this quick growing crop , is that newly planted asparagus typically takes several years to become established before you can harvest it sustainably . Since it ’ s a perennial , once it does start growing , it will come back year after year . Fysh says he ’ s found the crop peaks at six or seven years in and continues like that for a good five years before it starts producing less . Ultimately , he aims to get about 20 years out of a crop .
Along with the crop that returns each year , Fysh has a loyal group of international