A shortage of asparagus could mean bunches selling for as much as £50 each at a world-famous Midland auction this weekend – after much of the crop was ruined.
The Worcestershire village of Bretforton and the National Trust’s Fleece Inn are hosting the event – but this year the weather has had a major impact, with stocks scarce.
The British Asparagus Festival was cancelled earlier this month due to a lack of availability. Organisers say this has led to a huge increase in interest and record bids are expected this year.
As well as phone bids from as far afield as America, the village is gearing up for a much bigger influx of buyers attending the auctions in person than usual on Sunday.
Auctioneer Colin Jelfs said: “In a normal year, we expect to sell 30 rounds of asparagus at around £6 to £25 each. This year, asparagus is difficult to get hold of, so we’re anticipating sales to reach record levels of potentially £50.”
Many of the celebrations planned for the British Asparagus Festival will now take place on Sunday. This includes the ancient tradition of crowning the King of Asparagus.
In days of yore, farmers stooping to pick their crop complained that it made them bow-legged and looking like asparagus spears. So they daubed their legs in green dye and the farmer with the most asparagus-like legs was crowned king.
There will also be food stalls and cookery demonstrations. The auction begins at noon at The Fleece Inn.