Larsen Farms in Pasco sells purple asparagus curbside to raise money for Alzheimer’s Association

PASCO, Wash. — It’s a disease that isn’t slowed by social distancing or using hand sanitizer, and it can touch the lives of anyone.

“Every time I stutter on a word or something like that it’s like, ‘Here it comes,” said Gary Larsen, who lost both of his parents to Alzheimer’s. His father, Wayne, passed away on Christmas Eve of 2012. His mother, Nelda, died on Leap Day just a few months go.

Larsen and his brother own Larsen Farms in Pasco, and they decided to use one of their products to support a cause that has affected them so personally.

“Purple is the color of Alzheimer’s,” said Larsen. “I was like, we got this purple asparagus, what if we sell it and maybe we can make a difference, and that’s how it all came about.”

Last year, they raised around $12,000 for the Tri-Cities Walk to End Alzheimer’s with the help of some large donations. This year, they’ve already hit their goal of $15,000 and have set a new goal of $20,000.

Because of the pandemic, the process has looked a little different. The local Alzheimer’s Association office is closed, so local volunteers are stepping up to offer curbside pick-up at their homes.

“It’s for a good cause,” said Wendy Dunn, who offers drive-thru pick-up from her West Richland driveway. “You can’t miss the purple tent.”

Dunn puts up the purple tent Monday through Thursday. She wears gloves, a mask and has sanitizer on hand.

Larsen Farms has just an acre of purple asparagus to sell, but the profit from every single spear goes right back to the Alzheimer’s Association. They’ve also partnered with Middleton Six Sons Farms in Pasco, and they’re contributing purple asparagus as well.

“That’s the beauty of all of this.  Instead of us going out and asking for money, you’re going to pay us for this product, but we’re gonna turn around and give it to the Alzheimer’s Association,” said Larsen. “The whole community is involved in helping.”

Asparagus costs $2 per pound with a 5 pound minimum. Those who register for the Tri-Cities Walk to End Alzheimer’s in October while picking up their asparagus will receive a free jar of pickled asparagus.

Sales of the asparagus will wrap up in the next couple of weeks. To preorder asparagus, call (509) 552-7026. Payment options, pick-up instructions and location will be given at the time of order.