Twin Cities distributors set sights on schools - The Packer

Twin Cities distributors set sights on schools

05/20/2011 11:07:00 AM
Dan Gailbraith

The farm-to-school program uses all locally grown produce, he added.

“We work with local growers,” McLeod said.

“There are some facilities we buy from, anyway. We take a good price and a good product on smaller-sized apples and get a locked-in price. We’ve done different varieties of apples. They go to the booking and the school will come back and tell us how many they want. We go to the farm and lock it in and make deliveries.”

It’s affordable, as well, McLeod said.

“Usually, we’re getting a better price than what they’re paying, anyway, so we pass a lot of that savings right on to the school and give them all the information they want,” he said.

Kids can feed their minds, as well as their stomachs, he said.

“Some schools are actually talking about the farm and where it came from and turning it into a lesson plan,” he said.

The company is working with about 15 school districts in the Twin Cities region this year, McLeod said.

“Schools and health care have been nice and steady,” he said.

School business works for both buyer and seller, said Don Roper, vice president of sales and marketing for Wescott Agri Products, an apple grower based in Elgin, Minn.

“That business is growing,” he said. “What it probably does is help remove some of the smaller fruit from the marketplace. But from a grower’s perspective, you get a better return on bigger fruit.”

But, he emphasized, it’s not a dominant revenue stream.

“You’re not going to reinvest in orchards based on your school business,” he said.

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