NEWBERRY COUNTY — Fresh fruit and vegetables locally grown are important to Ann McConnell who is passionate about students being able to have access to healthier food items.
McConnell, director of child nutrition with the Newberry County School District, secured the local farm Lever Farms to deliver fresh strawberries to all of the schools in the district once again this year.
“I was determined to have a Newberry product in our schools,” she said.
However, she explained that the farmers’ schedule and the school’s schedule does not always agree which is why it’s more difficult to get local products in the schools.
Todd Lever, owner of Lever Farms, said that the strawberries were fresh picked the day they were delivered and also adds that schools have taken field trips to his farm which is a family business.
In addition to Lever Farms, Carolina Produce Company in Anderson delivers fresh fruits and vegetables to the schools. They also held health assemblies at the schools that have a fresh fruit and vegetable grant. Those schools are Gallman and Newberry Elementary.
They also go into the middle and high schools during the lunch periods so students have an option to go healthy.
The company is a wholesale distributor, which means it buys product directly from local farmers in South Carolina and delivers it to the schools.
During the assembly, students were taught about fruit and vegetables they might be unfamiliar with and also taste tested different foods such as a Jamaican ugly fruit, jicama sticks and pineapple along with other typical food like tomatoes and sweet potatoes.
At Gallman, the curriculum coordinator Allison Stribble even got an idea for their field day: They will try frozen fruit which is a welcome relief from the warmer weather and activity that occurs on field day.