Media AdvisoryFor Immediate Release From the Auksuciai Foundation June 15, 2008
For Further Information Contact : Leland Ruth 916-457-6529 or LelandRuth@aol.com
â€œFood for Kingsâ€ Launching Asparagus Program in Lithuania
On May 31, 2008 forty-eight people came together at the Auksuciai Farm & Forestry Center (AUMC) in Siauliai County in Northwestern Lithuania near Kursenai to participate in a program aimed at launching commercial asparagus production and marketing in Lithuania. Research conducted at the Center, over five years, has shown that the crop does well in Lithuanian soils, that there is a growing market for it, and that those interested in producing it have an excellent chance of receiving a good financial return for their efforts.
Asparagus, often called the â€œFood for Kings,â€ is truly an international food, but for some reason never became popular in Lithuania. People throughout Europe, Asia and North America use asparagus in their favorite cuisine. It is thought that its cultivation began more than 2000 years ago in the Eastern Mediterranean region. The Greeks and Romans prized asparagus for its unique flavor, texture and medicinal qualities.
Those in attendance at the Asparagus Workshop were given advice on how to grow it, post harvest handling requirements and marketing. This discussion was followed by a cooking demonstration on ways to prepare asparagus by Martins Ritins, noted chef of Vincents in Riga, Latvia. He noted that asparagus has become very popular in his restaurant and that he is not able to secure an adequate supply locally to meet his needs. He was impressed by the size and quality of the asparagus that is being produced at the Auksuciai Farm and Forestry Center.
Six of the ten farmers in attendance expressed interest in growing the crop and in joining the asparagus growers group. Those that sign up for the program will each receive 1000 starter asparagus plants at no charge. The Center is planning on working with this group of farmers and getting 10,000 plants in the ground and growing by the end of June of this year. The Center will coordinate an effort for forming an Asparagus Growers Association to facilitate marketing of the crop during the early phases of launching asparagus in Lithuania.
The Launching Asparagus Workshop was organized by AUMC and supported by the Auksuciai Foundation USA, Lithuanian Ministry of Agriculture, Siauliai University, the Agricultural University of Lithuania, and the Bridges Foundation. The Auksuciai Farm & Forestry Center (AUMC) is a non-profit public institution established in accordance with Lithuanian law. The AUMC is supported financially by the Auksuciai Foundation USA, headquartered at Burlingame, California and several other donor organizations. For more information about its programs, please visit its website www.aukfoundation.org