May 20, 2022

Charlie Doodle

Unique Art & Entertainment

San Joaquin Asparagus Festival to source from last Delta grower

4 min read

Asparagus in San Joaquin County used to grow abundantly. The “delta queen” variety is known for its thicker stems and sweeter taste, compared to imported asparagus. However, the crop has been priced out of the delta due to rising labor costs and other factors, Bruce Blodgett with the San Joaquin Farm Bureau said. “It’s changed significantly over the years. Even in the last 10 years it’s just really, really declined. Right now, we’re just talking about a couple of hundred acres now,” Blodgett said. At its height, about 60,000 acres of asparagus were grown in the Delta, now the crop is down to 200 acres, which Jeff Klein owns. Klein is the last commercial grower in the county.”We require a premium to stay in the business. We cannot compete with the asparagus that comes in from overseas,” Jeff Klein, who owns Moon Dust Farms, said. Klein said asparagus is a labor-intensive crop, which requires care seven days a week.“If you do not cut it on a daily basis, it will flower and the tip is then, the spear is essentially worthless,” Klein said. Asparagus that come from countries such as Mexico are sold in U.S. supermarkets at cheaper rates, and due to labor costs and overtime laws, Blodgett said California growers can’t compete.”Our labor costs are so much more expensive in this state compared to any place else, and it’s really tough to make a living and you can’t make a living at two bucks a pound,” Blodgett said.However, every year since 2015, San Joaquin Asparagus Festival CEO Tony Noceti has used the event to celebrate the “delta queen” variety. This year, the festival will take place at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds during the Mother’s day weekend.| VIDEO BELOW | San Joaquin Asparagus Days festival returns”It’s the peoples’ festival to me. It’s Stockton’s festival — this is why we continue to do this here,” Noceti said. Klein said the festival and consumers who continually buy delta-grown crops have helped his family to keep growing.“For us to stay in business we need San Joaquin county. We need its residents to come to support us,” Klein said. Klein said delta-grown asparagus can be found at his farm stand, Moon Dust Farms at 11605 Clifton Court Road in Stockton off of Tracy Boulevard; Save Mart Supermarkets in Stockton and Sacramento; Rinaldi’s in Linden; and Marina Marketplace and Podesto’s in Stockton. The asparagus growing season in San Joaquin County takes place from April to June.

Asparagus in San Joaquin County used to grow abundantly. The “delta queen” variety is known for its thicker stems and sweeter taste, compared to imported asparagus.

However, the crop has been priced out of the delta due to rising labor costs and other factors, Bruce Blodgett with the San Joaquin Farm Bureau said.

“It’s changed significantly over the years. Even in the last 10 years it’s just really, really declined. Right now, we’re just talking about a couple of hundred acres now,” Blodgett said.

At its height, about 60,000 acres of asparagus were grown in the Delta, now the crop is down to 200 acres, which Jeff Klein owns. Klein is the last commercial grower in the county.

“We require a premium to stay in the business. We cannot compete with the asparagus that comes in from overseas,” Jeff Klein, who owns Moon Dust Farms, said.

Klein said asparagus is a labor-intensive crop, which requires care seven days a week.

“If you do not cut it on a daily basis, it will flower and the tip is then, the spear is essentially worthless,” Klein said.

Asparagus that come from countries such as Mexico are sold in U.S. supermarkets at cheaper rates, and due to labor costs and overtime laws, Blodgett said California growers can’t compete.

“Our labor costs are so much more expensive in this state compared to any place else, and it’s really tough to make a living and you can’t make a living at two bucks a pound,” Blodgett said.

However, every year since 2015, San Joaquin Asparagus Festival CEO Tony Noceti has used the event to celebrate the “delta queen” variety. This year, the festival will take place at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds during the Mother’s day weekend.

| VIDEO BELOW | San Joaquin Asparagus Days festival returns

“It’s the peoples’ festival to me. It’s Stockton’s festival — this is why we continue to do this here,” Noceti said.

Klein said the festival and consumers who continually buy delta-grown crops have helped his family to keep growing.

“For us to stay in business we need San Joaquin county. We need its residents to come to support us,” Klein said.

Klein said delta-grown asparagus can be found at his farm stand, Moon Dust Farms at 11605 Clifton Court Road in Stockton off of Tracy Boulevard; Save Mart Supermarkets in Stockton and Sacramento; Rinaldi’s in Linden; and Marina Marketplace and Podesto’s in Stockton.

The asparagus growing season in San Joaquin County takes place from April to June.

https://www.kcra.com/article/san-joaquin-asparagus-festival-last-delta-grower/39855104

Copyright ©charliedoodle.com. | Newsphere by AF themes.