Thousands of pounds of fruit grown with the help of students will now be available for school meals, as the Turlock Unified School District Farm completed its harvest for the 2021 season.
In the fall of 2020, The TUSD Farm and the Child Nutrition Department collaborated to develop a plan for providing district farm grown fruit into the school meals. After deeming the trial run a success, the next step was to develop a plan for determining a schedule for providing all available district farm grown fruit into school meals from May through October.
At the end of the 20-21 school year and for the 2021 summer school, the district farm was able to provide 1,206 pounds of fruit (all apricots and apriums) in school meals. This fall of 2021, when schools were back in session, the district farm finished the fruit harvest season by delivering an additional 3,226.2 pounds of fruit for school meals and varieties included plums, peaches and pluots.
“This has been a great relationship between the district farm and Child Nutrition, focusing on farm to school procurement within our own district. Students and staff have enjoyed trying new and various fruit varieties that they may not otherwise access,” said TUSD Farm Coordinator Hali Bream.
As the winter months approach, the fruit trees will undergo annual pruning and maintenance to prepare for a bountiful spring.
“The district farm looks forward to analyzing better strategies for harvest and maximizing the amount of fruit provided to the Child Nutrition Department for the 2022 harvest,” said Bream.
The farm is also going to be welcoming livestock as well. The farm will have a swine barn full of piglets and soon they will welcome dairy heifers, sheep and goats.