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SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE CELEBRATES NEW JERSEY ASPARAGUS SEASON
Eats Eggs and Asparagus with Local CommunityFor Immediate Release: May 17, 2009
Contact: Lynne Richmond
(GREENWICH) – New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher today sampled Jersey Fresh asparagus from Sheppard Farms of Cedarville, eggs from Fralinger’s Egg Farm in Hopewell, and baked goods from the residents of Greenwich Township during the 19th annual Greenwich Fire Department Egg and Asparagus Breakfast.
“Jersey Fresh asparagus is at the height of its season, packed with flavor and full of nutritional value,” said Secretary Fisher. “Asparagus can be eaten in quiches, salads and omelets or steamed, roasted or sautéed. The annual tradition in Greenwich is to serve them with eggs as a hearty breakfast.”
More than 700 people usually attend the Egg and Asparagus Breakfast, the main fundraiser for the fire company. The entire community gets involved, from school children and police officers to Mayor Theodore Kiefer, who often can be found wearing an apron and helping in the kitchen. Almost every family in the town contributes a baked good for the breakfast.
Secretary Fisher gets ready to enjoy his eggs and asparagus at the Greenwich Fire Department
“We serve more people at the breakfast than we have residents in Greenwich,” said Greenwich Fire Chief Wade MacFarland. “The event is so popular that we get people from Delaware, Pennsylvania and even Ohio.”
MacFarland said asparagus has became the unofficial vegetable of the town due to the town’s history of asparagus farming.
New Jersey farmers grew 3.4 million pounds of asparagus on 1,000 acres last year with a value of $4.4 million. Jersey Fresh asparagus is available from late April to late June, but the month of May is the most active time for the crop.
Research on asparagus by Rutgers University has shown that it is a healthy choice for a balanced diet. It is a good source of vitamins, such as folic acid and vitamin E and contains antioxidants, which could help fight cancer.
Jersey Fresh asparagus can be found in supermarkets, community farmers markets, roadside stands and at pick-your-own farms.
For the location of farm markets, pick-your-own farms, or other information about Jersey Fresh, visit the Jersey Fresh website at www.jerseyfresh.nj.gov. For farm visit information, go to www.visitnjfarms.org.
Following recipes are found on the Jersey Fresh website at: www.state.nj.us/jerseyfresh/recipes/index.html.
Asparagus Tomato Quiche
10-inch pie shell, partially baked
3 TBS flour
1 tsp salt
1½ cups of half-and-half
1 large tomato, cut into ¼-inch slices
4 large Jersey Fresh eggs, beaten
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp dry mustard
2 cups grated Swiss cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium-sized bowl, beat eggs with flour, paprika, salt and mustard. Add half-and-half slowly, beating well. Stir in cheese. Saving 6 asparagus spears for the top, chop the rest into 1-inch lengths and lay on bottom of pie shell. Pour in liquid. Bake 20 minutes. Remove from oven and quickly arrange tomato and asparagus on top of the quiche in a wagon wheel pattern. Bake another 20 to 30 minutes until firm when a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Serves 4 - 6.
Contributed by: Betty Jane Smith, Annandale, NJ
Asparagus with French Country Sauce
1 pound Jersey Fresh asparagus
1 TBS Dijon mustard
1 TBS red-wine vinegar
1½ TBS Jersey Fresh shallots, finely chopped
3 TBS Jersey Fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 TBS Jersey Fresh basil or tarragon, finely chopped
2 large Jersey Fresh eggs, hard cooked
½ tsp salt and to taste
1 cup vegetable oil
Snap the ends off the asparagus and place the trimmed asparagus in a pot of boiling salted water. Bring the water to a second boil, reduce the heat and boil slowly, uncovered for 2 - 3 minutes, until the spears bend a little but are not limp. Drain and rinse them under cold running water until cool. Spread the cooked spears in a single layer on paper towel so they will finish cooling quickly. Place the eggs on a spoon and lower into a small saucepan of boiling water. Boil the eggs for 3 minutes (3½ if they are chilled). Rinse under cold running water until cool enough to handle. Hit each egg with a knife at “the equator” and pull the halves apart. With a spoon, pull out the yolks into a medium-sized bowl. Set aside the whites, in their shells, to finish cooking. Whisk the yolks until they are thick and sticky. Whisk in the mustard, salt, and vinegar. Add the oil, whisking by hand or with an electric mixer, drop by drop at first and then in a steady stream. When all the oil is incorporated, stir in the shallots, parsley and basil or tarragon and taste for salt. Sieve or finely chop the egg whites and fold them in, if desired. If sauce is too thick for dipping, thin with a little vinegar. Makes 4 servings.
Contributed by: Dena Scibilia, Ringoes, NJ