Night-harvesting asparagus in Spain

San José and his wife Pilar Chaqui, produce 25 hectares of organic white asparagus in Tudela de Duero, near Valladolid, Spain. 25 hectares of organic white asparagus. They market their asparagus for direct sale and to restaurants. It is harvested at night by groups of Andalusian workers. Report
Fri 14/10/2022 by Guy Dubon

There are several reasons for harvesting asparagus at night. One of the main ones is that it assists pickers – a key consideration given that Spain has very few machines to assist in harvesting. Our Andalusian labourers find that the plastic is soft in daytime temperatures and doesn’t handle well. Also, as asparagus harvesting is a laborious task, the workers feel less fatigue at night, which allows them to work at a better pace. For night vision purposes, they use headlamps. However, handling asparagus is a delicate endeavour that requires care and precision to ensure the quality and integrity of the product is maintained throughout the production process. This is why we always employ expert and reliable pickers. The harvesting usually starts at 10 pm and ends between 4 and 7 in the morning, depending on the amount of asparagus.

Another benefit of harvesting asparagus at night concerns the quality of the product. Picking the plant at this time allows the asparagus to come out cooler and whiter as it avoids contact with sunlight. This in turn ensures a better appearance and taste – key considerations for retailers and consumers alike. The third major factor relates to operational organisation. When all of day’s production is carried out early in the morning, you can start organising the storage house very early and begin processing the production for sale and delivery. This ensures the product arrives on the market as fresh as possible. So, we feel there are more advantages than disadvantages relating to night collection. We should never forget, however, that the pickers’ expertise and skills are at the heart of the process.


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