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Asparagus Growing In Popularity Among Diners

(April 30, 2012 - The Packer)—Asparagus is the new green bean on restaurant menus.

“Every restaurant serves some sort of asparagus dish,” said Bruce Klein, director of marketing for South Hackensack, N.J.-based Maurice A. Auerbach Inc., which distributes to mid-Atlantic retailers and foodservice distributors.

“Chefs like it because they know they can get it year-round, and they trust the quality we give them,” said Klein.

Tom Travers, general manager of Miami-based Harvest Sensations, said foodservice asparagus volumes have been softer since the beginning of the year, but he hoped things would pick up as Easter approached.

“I think it’s because a lot of people are buying direct from Mexico at a great price,” said Travers, who distributes to restaurants as far west as Houston and north to Boston and Chicago.

He also blames the high price of gas.

“I’m no economist,” he said, “but when people put that extra dollar or two a gallon in their tank they come up shorter when it comes time to go to a higher-end restaurant that serves asparagus.”

He takes comfort, however, knowing that when prices skyrocketed in the past, young people accustomed to restaurants continued to eat out, though they may have chosen a less expensive restaurant.

Travers said he’s seen a shift from green beans to asparagus, both economical so far this year.

Read more on The Packer website: http://www.thepacker.com/fruit-vegetable-news/foodservice/Asparagus-gains-ground-in-dining-out-and-at-home-eating-149271985.html

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