Tour de Fresh exceeds fund-raising goalCyclists on the final leg of the Tour de Fresh knew when they headed for the Anaheim, Calif., convention center on Oct. 16 that they had already won. The charity ride already raised more than $124,000 to provide salad bars for more than 40 schools across the country.

A collaborative effort brought together companies and organizations from across the fresh produce industry for the 275-mile ride from Carmel, Calif., to the Produce Marketing Association’s 2014 Fresh Summit.

Officials from the United Fresh Start Foundation are scheduled to be on site at the PMA event to accept a check for the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools campaign.

With the event staged during National School Lunch Week, riders and their supporters have been focused on school nutrition for months as they planned and trained for the Tour de Fresh.

“Our riders created a weekly salad bar at our main office as part of the major fundraising efforts for this event and we have decided to continue these efforts as a company,” Caitlin Antle Wilson from Tanimura and Antle said in the release.

During a break at Deardorff Family Farms on Oct. 15, local and state officials thanked the riders for their efforts.

Sandy Curwood, director of child nutrition at the Conejo Valley School District in Thousand Oaks, was at Deardorff to accept a new salad bar that will be used Oct 17 for the first time at Sequoia Middle School in Newbury Park, CA.

“The implementation of farm to school salad bars is a great help to providing fresh, seasonal produce for (our) students. We are grateful to Deardorff Family Farms and the Tour de Fresh for making this happen,” Curwood said in a news release.

Cyclists represent companies and organizations including:

  • Tanimura & Antle;
  • Mann Packing Co.;
  • Ocean Mist Farms;
  • California Giant Berry Farms;
  • Church Brothers;
  • Sutherland Produce;
  • Oneonta Starr Ranch;
  • Mission Produce;
  • Crunch Pak;
  • Sakata Seed America;
  • C&S Wholesale Grocers;
  • Deardorff Family Farms;
  • iTrade Network;
  • Taylor Farms;
  • The Oppenheimer Group;
  • First Fruits Marketing of Washington;
  • The Vision Cos.;
  • TMK;
  • Columbia Marketing International;
  • Natural Delights;
  • United Fresh Produce Association;
  • Pajaro Valley Fresh;
  • CHEP; and
  • Hort Americas.