Michigan apples now available!

The fourth and final Cultivate Michigan purchasing guide for 2014 is now available and is featuring the iconic Michigan Apple!

The fourth and final Cultivate Michigan Product Purchasing guide is now available and is featuring Michigan-grown apples. After cherries, apples are one of the wonderful products that our state is known for producing at a high quality and large quantity. Michigan ranks as the third largest apple producing state behind Washington and New York, and this makes it the perfect product to be incorporated into institutional food service menus all year round.

Not only are apples abundant in Michigan they are also one of the healthiest and nutritionally dense fruits available, making them a perfect snack while eaten whole or a great addition to any fresh salad, side, or main dish that your institution might be featuring. The product purchasing guide will not only help your institution find local Michigan Apples, but will also provide recipes from fellow institutional chef’s and nutrition directors, tips on the best ways to store and preserve your apples and facts about apple nutrition. These nutrition facts can be used to inform your patients, students, employees and visitors about the benefits of enjoying Michigan Apples.

Included with the purchasing guides are several marketing materials that can be used around your institutional cafeteria or cafes to show that your support for purchasing locally. These materials include posters, Cultivate Michigan logo stickers, and even window clings with featured foods that can be added to windows or cafeteria lines. In order to gain access to all of this great information and marketing resources, institutions must first pledge their support of the Cultivate Michigan Campaign by agreeing to work towards the Michigan Good Food Charter goal of sourcing 20 percent of their food from within Michigan by the year 2020. Joining the Cultivate Michigan campaign also gives you access to a local purchasing dashboard that allows you to input local purchasing efforts quarterly and helps you track progress towards the 20 percent by 2020 goal.

The Cultivate Michigan Campaign was developed by the Michigan Farm to Institution Network, a project of the Ecology Center and Michigan State University’s Center for Regional Food Systems. The Network is working to link Farm to Institution efforts across the state and create opportunities for learning, resource sharing, and collaboration. Michigan State University Extension has also taken a very active role on the Network’s Leadership Committee heads up two of the Network’s three subcommittees. The network is currently seeking new members to take an active role in engagement, resource creation, and to track impacts of the Cultivate Michigan campaign. Consider joining the network to help build a more robust and sustainable food system across Michigan.

For more information on starting farm-to-institution programs in your area or community, visit the Michigan State University Extension Community Food System page and search for Extension Experts in your county.

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