So if you were walking through a grocery store and saw this sign, well you would want to load up, right? Well the guy in the sign is not only an asparagus grower and packer, but is also a Retail Partner selling AgroLiquid. Meet Todd Greiner. His operation is in the asparagus capital of Hart, MI in Oceana County. Michigan was the #1 asparagus producer for years, but California has kind of taken over. But talk is there is less acreage due to conversion to tree crops. We will see. But CA can produce for 7 months whereas the asparagus season in Michigan is only around 5 weeks. We are in mid-season now. Now as nice as this sign is, Todd has had to tell them (Meijers) to take down the sign after the Michigan season is over and South American asparagus comes in from Peru. Best asparagus is Michigan asparagus for sure. Let them get their own guy for signs.
(photo credit: SAM Ashley Stickler)
I had not been over to Hart to see Todd and his operation. Last Thursday SAM Burt Henry was going over, and before he knew it Troy, intern Katherine and I volunteered to go too. As I said, Todd not only grows it, but also processes and packs it for shipment to grocery stores all over the country. He has an employee that all he does is talk to stores and arrange shipment. Greiner Farms runs two packing houses that we visited. We watched how the asparagus is brought from the field to coolers, washed, then through a sorting line, cut for uniformity, bundled up and boxed for shipment. Unfortunately pictures weren't allowed. I understand, it's competitive. Who knows how many spies read this hoping to get a tip. Well they can see this though. They have a new product now that is just being introduced: microwave asparagus!
There is the family pic and farm info on the back. That's Todd's wife Sarah who runs the packing operation. Boy is she busy.
Well this was the only microwave bag they had in the office. And when they offered it to me, Katherine obviously didn't hear clearly and tried to intercept MY asparagus. Just like the THE OSU type. So she had a trick move and made the grab. But she had to give a pic and review for the blog.
Meanwhile, Burt and Troy bought a box of regular asparagus that was just picked that day.
For lunch we went to a restaurant that had, what else, Fried Asparagus! That was a first for me. We got a big order. Well after it was all gone, I realized that I forgot to take a picture. But this drawing is pretty close. And you can tell from the wiggly lines that it's hot. Dip in Ranch dressing and enjoy.
Katherine kept her promise and sent me this pic of the microwave asparagus. She added butter and some garlic said it was delicious. So keep an eye out for it.
I had to cook mine the old fashioned way on the stove in shallow water in a skillet. An excellent addition that makes any meal better. And so pretty to look at.
So that was only part of the fun. Tune in tomorrow for our visit to fields of growing asparagus, asparagus harvest, new asparagus fields, plus cherry trees and probably more. If you didn't like asparagus before, you will now.