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PHOTO RELEASE: MDARD Director Tim Boring Tours New Era American Asparagus, Michigan Freeze Pack, Michigan Asparagus Research Farm, NJ Fox & Sons
May 18, 2023
Michigan ranks first in the nation for asparagus production; Michigan farmers produce an average of 20 million pounds of asparagus during the annual 6–7-week harvest season.
SHELBY, MI – Today, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Director Tim Boring highlighted the positive and dynamic impact of Michigan’s asparagus industry by touring Michigan Asparagus Research Farm, New Era American Asparagus, Michigan Freeze Pack and NJ Fox & Sons.
"Michigan's crop diversity and rich soils are critical to the success of our expanding food and agricultural industry," said Director Boring. "We are home to 100 Michigan families whose farms harvest nearly 9,500 acres of land, yielding 6,000 – 8,000 pounds of homegrown asparagus per acre with 60 percent of their harvest being sold fresh through May and June. The remainder is sold to processors who freeze or can the product for distribution throughout the United States. Governor Whitmer and MDARD are committed to investing in our specialty crops, while supporting smart agriculture principles fortifying the future of our food and agriculture industry."
Michigan ranks first in the nation for asparagus production because of the state’s unique, sandy loam soil. This soil, found most often near Michigan's west coast, is dominated by sand particles, but also contains enough clay and sediment to provide structure and fertility.
“Asparagus is the first vegetable of the season and important anchor on many farms along Lake Michigan,” said Jamie Clover Adams, Executive Director of the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board. “The Board is aggressively promoting fresh asparagus on social media and at retail across the Midwest to remind consumers about this delicious, locally grown vegetable.”
The Michigan Asparagus Program was established by Michigan’s asparagus growers in 1978 under the authority of the Agricultural Commodities Marketing Act. Their mission is to improve the economic position of Michigan asparagus producers by supporting research and creating greater marketing opportunities. Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board accomplishes this by supporting research for marketing and production practices and asparagus varieties, as well as implementing advertising and promotion programs, and assembling and disseminating market information.
New Era American Asparagus represents a grower base of over 1,600 of Fresh Michigan Asparagus grown along the Shores of Lake Michigan and grows over 300 acres of asparagus. New Era American Asparagus has developed a short process to increase their customer’s shelf life and quality of asparagus, the product is cooled with a Hydrocooler immediately after harvest. The product is then placed in a cooler prior to packing inside a completely refrigerated packing room.
Michigan Freeze Pack is a multi-generational family company committed to providing the highest quality frozen vegetables. Michigan Freeze Pack is a leading processor of Frozen Vegetables for the ingredient industry. Established in 1988, the 100,000 Sq. Ft. facility is in Hart, Michigan, in the middle of Michigan’s premiere growing region for vegetables. Michigan vegetables are known for their high quality and are on tables worldwide.
NJ Fox & Sons is a fifth-generation farm, produces quality wines from the fruits of its orchards and vineyards, which was first planted in 2008. The farm is in Shelby, Michigan on 2,000 acres of land.
Throughout 2023, MDARD will meet with Michigan's food and agricultural businesses to discuss how they can continue to succeed and how the department can best assist their continuous growth and expansion.