Asparagus Festival is Missing Something Important

What's that smell? In Empire, Mich., it's definitely not asparagus. The city's annual festival celebrating the pungent vegetable is not likely to offer its regular bounty of the green spears. In earlier festivals, a local farmer sold 500 pounds of asparagus.

EMPIRE, Mich. (AP) — The missing ingredient at this weekend's Empire Asparagus Festival is asparagus.

The long, cold winter and cool spring have delayed this year's crop in Michigan's northern Lower Peninsula, leaving festival organizers scrambling for a replacement source.

The Traverse City Record-Eagle says the festival's usual supplier is Harry Norconk but that Norconk Farm doesn't have an asparagus crop yet.

Norconk says sufficient asparagus won't be available before Tuesday. He says he's sold as much as 500 pounds of asparagus at earlier festivals.

This year, restaurant owners will source asparagus supplies from southern Michigan to meet the demand.

Event organizer Paul Skinner of the Empire Chamber of Commerce says the festival will highlight other locally grown foods to fill the gap.

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