N.C. blueberries burst into schools as Farm to School Program posts record year

by | Jun 2, 2009

blueberriesFirst it was the reds, now it is the blues — berries that is.

The Farm to School program wraps up for the 2008-2009 season with deliveries of fresh North Carolina blueberries to schools the week of June 1. Eleven school systems across the state placed orders for a total of 824 flats of blueberries.

The blueberries are being supplied by American Blueberries Inc. of Rocky Point and  Cottle Strawberry Nursery of Faison. Participating school systems are: Alamance-Burlington, Brunswick County, Camp Lejeune, Cherokee County, Craven County, Cumberland County, Fort Bragg, Harnett County, Haywood County, Hickory Public and Wake County.

Overall, it has been a great year for the department’s Farm to School Program.  Nearly $700,000 worth of North Carolina commodities have moved into the school systems this year, more than ever in the 12-year history of the program. Schools saw the addition of sweet potato sticks to the local offerings this year, but strawberries ruled school lunchrooms with nearly 13,000 flats ordered in 2009.

School nutrition directors seem to be taking the old adage, “An apple a day…,” to heart in a big way. A total of 8,787 cases of North Carolina apples were delivered from September through December. Students enjoyed the Gala, Golden Delicious, Jonagold, Red Delicious, Red Rome and Pink Lady varieties. In addition, nearly 4,000 cases of individually bagged apple slices were delivered January through March.

Based on orders, watermelons and cantaloupes were the third and fourth most ordered fruits and vegetables, followed by green cabbage.