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The original item was published from 11/9/2017 2:24:24 PM to 12/14/2017 12:00:02 AM.

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Rutgers Cooperative Extension

Posted on: November 9, 2017

[ARCHIVED] Learn If Farming Asparagus is right for you at the Ultra-Niche Crops Series Workshop on December 12

Rutgers Cooperative Extension continues its Ultra-Niche Crop Series with the upcoming workshop “Farming Asparagus.” This workshop, the eighth class in the Ultra-Niche educational series for farmers seeking new crop opportunities, will be held on Tuesday, December 12, 2017 from 5:30 to 8 p.m., simultaneously in Bordentown, Bridgeton, and Bridgewater, New Jersey.

Ultra-Niche Crops are defined as exceptionally high-value crops that can provide a significant source of income to the farmer while using a minimal amount of land. In this session, farmers will learn how to grow, market and sell asparagus and how to make practical decisions on marketing and crop production. “ Asparagus is a perennial crop that lends itself well to small-scale and part-time farming operations. If well cared for, the plantings can last for decades,” says Jenny Carleo, County Agent, Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Cape May County and the Ultra-Niche Crops Project Director.

The workshop will feature a 20-minute “Virtual Field Trip” video on the production and marketing of asparagus, as well as, a speakers’ panel that includes farmer Tom Sheppard, a farmer at Sheppard Farms a 1500 acre farm in Cedarville NJ. Sheppard’s family has been farming in New Jersey since 1683. Also, on the panel is buyer Sheri Waide who spent more than 20 years working in fine dining in San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Cape May, New Jersey. Dr. Steve Garrison completes the panel. Dr. Garrison, retired from Rutgers University, is an expert in asparagus breeding and has been a part of the team overseeing the asparagus breeding program at Rutgers University for the last two decades.

Participants at the Farming Asparagus class will be led through worksheets to help them determine whether or not growing this crop is right for them, their acreage, and their situation. The cost for this workshop is $20 and includes a dinner at 5:30 p.m., followed by the program at 6 p.m. Additionally, pesticide recertification credits are available for Ultra-Niche classes.

For more information, contact Jenny Carleo at (609) 465-5115 or email Jennifer Matthews at To register go to Eventbrite: The deadline to register is December 8, 2017.

To find out more about the Rutgers Ultra-Niche Crops Project, please go to The Rutgers Ultra-Niche Crops Project is sponsored by a grant from the USDA-NIFA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program with the purpose of giving new and beginning farmers an introduction to crops that can help them make more money on less land.

Rutgers Cooperative Extension’s education programs are offered to all without regard to race, religion, color, age, national origin, gender, sexual orientation or disability.

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