Organic NZ

ASPARAGUS spears to die for

Bill and Irene Cummings, with the help of their three children over the years, have operated Greenfern (Les Asperges) since 2000. Located at Tamahere near Cambridge on 23 hectares of flat sandy loam soil, their fields produced at peak 100 tonnes of asparagus every season.

Bill grew up on his father’s sheep farm. When it was sold he became a school teacher for a few years before going back to the land to grow berries, with the idea of transitioning to sheep farming. In the mid-80s when he was ready, sheep were no longer in vogue, so he took a horticultural supply position at Turners & Growers, Tamahere, and thus met many Waikato growers. When asparagus grower Alex Boyd needed a manager, Bill took the opportunity with Boyd’s Asparagus.

The role included travelling around the Waikato testing asparagus carbohydrate content (sugar levels). Bill noticed how different the soil

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