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Eckert's Farm forced to pick asparagus, then donates crop to local chefs

Thanks to April freeze, Operation Food Search will be the beneficiary of chef-inspired dishes from Yolklore, Balkan Treat Box and Lazy Tiger
Credit: KSDK

BELLEVILLE, Ill. — Eckert’s Farm, the family farm and country store in Belleville, Illinois, announced that this week's extreme cold forced the harvest of its asparagus.

But all is not lost. In fact, far from it.

Eckert's has saved its initial asparagus crop by collaborating with St. Louis restaurants to donate the produce for chef-inspired dishes to benefit Operation Food Search.

Eckert’s has partnered with local chefs Mary Bojecki of Yolklore, Loryn Nalic of Balkan Treat Box and Tim Wiggins of Lazy Tiger to donate the asparagus for specialty menu items from each of the restaurants, starting now through Wednesday, April 28. Some of the proceeds from the chefs’ asparagus-inspired dishes will be donated to Operation Food Search.

“In order to protect our asparagus crop for later in the season, we chose to cut the vegetable down to ground level,” said Eckert’s Marketing Director, Amanda Morgan. “We always try to offer our farm-fresh product to local chefs, so this was a great opportunity to get the asparagus to restaurants who could offer creative menu items. 

“We’re incredibly thankful to our chef partners as we recognize the trials and tribulations that they have faced in the last year as well. With multiple opportunities across St. Louis, guests can support not only this important organization but these amazing restaurants in our community.”

Eckert’s asparagus on the menu: 

Yolklore (available Saturday-Sunday, April 24-25): Try a spring veggie rolled omelet with shaved asparagus ($12) | 6 a.m. – 3 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 7 a.m. – 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Call (314) 270-8538 or order online for curbside pickup or drive-thru at Yolklore.

Balkan Treat Box (available Tuesday-Saturday, April 20-24): Enjoy a seasonal wood-fired asparagus pide (cheese, ajvar, kajmak, lemon, herbs) ($14) | 11 a.m. until sold out. Order online or call (314) 733-5700 for no-contact curbside pickup.

Lazy Tiger (available through Wednesday, April 28, operating hours): The Moon Scoop cocktail is made with London Dry Gin, asparagus, pink peppercorn bitters, Clairin Sajous, lemon, egg white and soda. ($12) | You can order online or enjoy the cocktail at the bar from 5 to 10 p.m.

Eckert’s plans to offer pick-your-own asparagus later in the season, weather permitting. Asparagus is also available for purchase at Eckert’s Country Store through early- to mid-May. While there, you can check out the new asparagus, bacon and herb cheese pizza ($12.99), which comes frozen and is available for purchase. At-home cooks can check out Eckert’s Country Recipes for cooking and grilling inspiration. Eckert’s Country Store is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

For more information, visit www.eckerts.com.