Michigan school districts welcome back students with Michigan apples, peaches and pears

A new partnership between Cherry Capital Foods, Michigan Fruit Growers, and Chartwells School Dining Services will bring more local fruit to school meals.

Michigan public school students in 114 districts will enjoy Michigan-grown fruit starting this school year, thanks to a partnership with Cherry Capital Foods and Chartwells School Dining Services.
“This may be the largest farm-to-school project to date in the country,” said Kelly Lively, special projects and school liaison for Cherry Capital Foods.

Cherry Capital Foods will gather, store and coordinate the transportation of apples to districts throughout the state, including some portions of the Upper Peninsula. Growers such as Friske Orchards in Antrim County to Gavin Orchards in Coopersville, Mich. along with dozens of other farms will provide this year’s apples to students. Many apple varieties will be available throughout the state and the year, and in different sizes specialized for the age of the students in each school.

Brain Casey, Chartwells regional vice president, says, “Through our partnership we’re able to provide fresh, local foods that are at the height of their nutritional value to the students of Michigan.”
Because supplies allow it this year, peaches and possibly pears will be available to kick off the school year, and apples will be available throughout the year.

Michigan State University Extension educators and other regional experts are predicting a large crop of apples this year. A recent news article titled Michigan apple crop comes roaring back, published by the Detroit Free Press, provides some historical information about Michigan’s apple crop, which usually ranks third in the nation.

In addition to delivering fresh Michigan produce to schools, Cherry Capital will also be hosting a statewide event they are calling “Michigan’s Apple Crunch!” designed to encourage people of all ages all around the state to bite into an apple on October 24th. This is part of Food Day, a nationwide celebration to promote healthy, affordable, and sustainable food.

For more information on this project, contact Kelly Lively, special projects and school liaison at Cherry Capital Foods, (231) 943-5010, or visit the Cherry Capital Foods website.

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