Even with the cool, rainy weather we’ve been having, it’s full speed ahead for Jersey Fresh fruits and vegetables.

“Lettuces and greens are everywhere. Asparagus is peak season right now and we’re thrilled. That’s one of the very first harbingers of spring,” says state Agriculture Secretary Doug Fisher.

He notes the Garden State ranks in the top 10 in the country in the production of several crops, including asparagus.

Last year, the Jersey asparagus crop was valued at $12.5 million and the production value of all vegetables sold in the Garden State in 2017 was almost $156 million, an increase of more than $6 million from the previous year.

Fisher says Jersey Fresh strawberries are also starting to show up at farm stands and supermarkets.

“Farmers continue to figure out how they can work with the elements. For instance, growing strawberries under plastic and row covers and a whole number of other innovative ways.”

He says we’re also starting to see radishes, turnip and leeks. Pretty soon, we'll see tomatoes and corn, too.

Fisher points out in the next few weeks Jersey Fresh carrots and cherries will also begin to be harvested. Then in July,  blueberries.

"By the time we get to August and September, we’re in full production of just about everything we grow in the state," he said.

Fisher says many Jersey Fresh crops are a week or so behind schedule, but they’re doing just fine.

“This week it’s rainy, but if we get a prolonged couple of weeks of really seasonable warm weather, it’s amazing how fast Mother Nature can catch up,” he said.

According to the state Department of Agriculture, several Jersey Fresh vegetables become available in May:

  • Asparagus
  • Beets
  • Broccoli Rabe
  • Cabbage
  • Collards
  • Dandelion Greens
  • Kale
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce
  • Radishes
  • Scallions
  • Spinach
  • Turnips
  • Strawberries

Next month more vegetables and fruits will be harvested:

  • Beans
  • Carrots
  • Cherries
  • Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Endive
  • Onions
  • Parsley
  • Peas
  • Peppers
  • Yellow Squash
  • Tomatoes

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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