Mullica Hill will celebrate its annual asparagus festival on Saturday, May 13 with asparagus-themed food, from main courses to desserts.
The event celebrates the 101st anniversary of the first plane shipment of produce from the township to Boston. According to festival co-Chair David Tinney, about 1,000 pounds of the vegetable was on board.
“On May 17, 1922, a Fokker monoplane leaving Mullica Hill shipped fresh asparagus to Boston, marking the first time that fresh produce was transported by plane,” Tinney recounted. “It took several hours to reach its destination, since they didn’t have the technology to pinpoint where exactly to go and had to rely on landmarks.
“The plane stopped to refuel in New York, where 200 pounds of asparagus was stolen, so only 800 pounds ended up making it to Boston,” he added. “The mayor of Boston and governor of Massachusetts enjoyed fresh asparagus that night.”
The asparagus festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the southern part of Main Street, around the Harrison Township Historical Society’s Old Town Hall. There will be displays inside the hall’s museum and on its grounds.
This year, three chefs will make asparagus-themed food for the event: Jim Malaby from blueplate, Anthony Marino of Marino’s Restaurant and David Weiderholt of 322 BBQ. Nine recipes will be available for tasting and there will be a winning recipe determined by festival guests.
“Everything, including desserts, are asparagus themed,” said Tinner.
Tickets for festival tastings are $15 for adults and $5 for kids and can be purchased either online at Ticket Leap or on the day of the event. Special T-shirts commemorating the festival will also be available for purchase and proceeds will benefit the historical society.
“It’s one of our biggest fundraising events of the year,” said Tinney. “It’s a great event that is a lot of fun for everybody.”
Harrison Mayor Louis Manzo is expected to attend the event, along with officials from other towns.
Activities will include a corn hole and photo opportunities with a cutout of the Fokker plane’s silhouette. The event coincides with the Mullica Hill Art Festival.