New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas Fisher (left) checks out Jersey Fresh asparagus with Eastern Fresh Growers operator Tom Sheppard. ( Photo courtesy New Jersey Department of Agriculture )

To promote the Jersey Fresh produce season, New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas Fisher harvested asparagus at Sheppard Farms in Lawrence Township, N.J.

Fisher also visited Eastern Fresh Growers, Sheppard Farms’ packing facility, to watch asparagus being packed electronically, according to a news release.

“We think this will be a great season for our farmers and all of those who produce Jersey Fresh fruits and vegetables,” Fisher said in the release. 

“Now is a peak time for asparagus and we want people to know that when they see the Jersey Fresh label in supermarkets and farm markets throughout the state, they can be sure that what they are buying is locally grown.”

New Jersey is the fourth-largest U.S. producer of asparagus, according to the release, with a crop last year valued at $12.5 million. 

Other early crops in the state include kale, lettuce, radishes and spinach. Growers expect to start harvesting beets and strawberries by late May, according to the release.

“We are excited for this year and expect to have another great season,” Eastern Fresh operator Tom Sheppard said in the release.