Asparagus left unpicked all over Central Washington - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Asparagus left unpicked all over Central Washington

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Granger, Wash -- This is normally the peak time for asparagus growers and pickers, but not this year. The asparagus season ended almost two weeks earlier than normal.  

A labor shortage is causing growers and packers to cut short their season.    

"Growers would call and say, I'm not going to be able to do my acres, I don't have the crews." said Patricia McDonald, a growers agent.  

When the asparagus picking season began, workers were already in short supply. But once the cherry season began, it got worse as many left to pick the higher paying cherries.

According to the Washington Asparagus Commission, nearly five million pounds of asparagus will go un-picked this season. The industry is literally leaving seven million dollars in the ground.