Program adds vegetables to school lunches

Jan. 03, 2013 @ 06:39 PM

Union County Public Schools students enjoyed fresh cabbage, broccoli, sweet potatoes, collards and other fruits and vegetables from local farms this winter, due in part to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Farm to School program. 

The schools receive deliveries every week from farms in Fort Mill and other nearby farms, Child Nutrition Supervisor John Arrowood said. 

“That’s a benefit for us,” Arrowood said. “(We) help out the local economy.” 

Union County Public Schools has partnered with the Farm to School program for many years. Farm to School connects farmers with more customers.

“It’s just a pleasure to help out the farmers in our area and in North Carolina,” Arrowood said. 

In order to participate in the program, farms must be certified in Good Agricultural Practices. No farms in Union County participate in the program, so produce comes from neighboring counties. 

“It is great that schools can provide fresh, locally grown fruit and vegetable options year-round. Collards, cabbage, apples, and sweet potatoes will make up the next deliveries in early January when students return,” North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said in a statement. 

Throughout the year, the program delivers watermelons, cantaloupes, tomatoes, peaches, sweet corn, romaine lettuce, apple slices, strawberries, yellow squash and other fruits and vegetables. 

The students enjoy the offerings, Arrowood said. 

“It’s a big deal when we come back around and they have some of this fresh stuff and it’s seasonal, so you don’t get it all the time,” Arrowood said. “They do love it. It’s a big hit for us to do that.”