Throughout the springtime growing season, the region’s farms regularly transport their harvests to the ZON Auction house in Venlo for sale. A traditional Dutch auction sees that the price to be paid for each lot falls rather than rises over the set duration of bidding. Distributors, restaurants, and food producers compete to purchase the vegetable, whose stalks must be 22 centimetres long. Depending on shape, size and colour, the asparagus falls into one of 16 classifications. The highest prices are paid for the coveted, straight ‘AA White’ type, which has a diameter of between 20 and 24 millimetres: this is the type you will typically be served when dining in top restaurants.