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Locally grown asparagus in five island Waitrose stores

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Jersey-grown asparagus is available for the first time in all three Waitrose shops in Jersey and two in Guernsey.

Happy Hens farmer Allan McCaffrey (left) and Gary Grace of Waitrose

The crop, which has taken four years to become established, is now mature enough to be harvested for Waitrose and the plants should now continue to produce an abundant crop for many years.

The supermarket first began discussions about growing asparagus with local farmer Allan McCaffrey, owner of Happy Hens, in 2014. The Grouville-based farm is the oldest and largest producer of free-range eggs in Jersey and, with support from Waitrose, was keen to diversify.

The farm’s Jersey asparagus crop replaces the UK 250g, 400g and asparagus tips lines and is expected to produce about 12 tons this year.

‘The asparagus hybrids that we have planted are noted for their early season growth and good taste,’ Mr McCaffrey said. ‘This, combined with the Jersey climate and good-quality soil, create an early-season market placement and a taste that consumers will appreciate.’

Gary Grace, Waitrose fresh produce buyer said: ‘This year is the first full season for the crop, which has matured a little later than we had hoped due to the harsh weather at the beginning of the season but we now expect it to be available until at least the middle of July, which is great news.

‘Giving our customers the choice to buy local is extremely important to Waitrose. Allan has worked really hard to produce this top-quality crop and it’s a great addition to our locally produced fresh vegetables.’

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