Asparagus is in season. The California asparagus harvest begins in late February, supply peaks in March and April, then tapers off in June. Nearly 80% of the 200 million pounds of fresh asparagus grown in the United States comes from California. Due to increasing competition from countries with lower production costs, California asparagus acreage is down from 36,000 acres five years ago to just 16,000 acres being plant-ed this season. The California asparagus industry has endeavored to improve its competitive position with the development of new varieties that grow a longer green spear as well as emphasizing the quality and freshness of the local crop.