Thursday, October 20, 2011

More Farm-To-School success!

Here's Katie Wolpert, one of the members of the Tygart Valley Growers Association, telling us about her exciting sale to Upshur County Schools. 

"The week of October 10-14th was National School Lunch week and in honor of that week, the Upshur County Schools made a special effort to include local products in their school lunches for the week. They ordered ground cherries and mustard greens from our fall garden to include as fresh salad components at one of their schools this week. The Nutrition Director for the Upshur County Schools, Cynthia Nesselrode, grew up on a farm in the southern part of WV and is very interested to include more locally produced and seasonal items in the school lunch menus whenever possible.

It is likely that she was even more excited to accept the order from Wolpertinger than we were to deliver it. Hopefully this small initial order is the beginning of a fruitful relationship with the Upshur County School System and results in a closer connection between the farmers and the students in this area.

Any farmers interested or able to provide products that may be of interest to the schools should not hesitate to contact myself or Ben Nemeth about pursuing opportunities with the Upshur schools. This is a great opportunity to develop new markets at a time of year when sales at the summer farmers markets are slowing or already completed for the year. Winter storage items and early spring products will also be able to be sold in this all-but-untapped marketplace. Hopefully we will develop the relationship this winter and spring such that as markets begin to slow next August and schools go back into session, we'll be able to transition smoothly from selling at summer markets to selling to school cafeterias.

If the program continues to grow, there is a possibility of conducting farm visits with school classes or bringing local farmers into the schools to discuss growing, and other issues of relevance with the students, and thereby strengthening the connection that we hope is just beginning to form."

Here are some pictures of the Wolpert's Fall Garden

Congratulations to Wolpertinger and Upshur County Schools! It's exciting to see opportunities like this popping up all over the state. Let's keep the momentum going!