Have you ever wanted to sell produce to your local school system so that kids can enjoy our bounty of Florida fruit and veggies during the winter and spring months?
Then this seminar, sponsored by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) is for you! They are conducting a “webinar” (a seminar over the web) that will give growers all the information needed about the school food service for the state of Florida. They will cover several goals, including a description of program, the goals of each school food service department within each district, how they obtain the produce, and what factors are important to them when they purchase produce. Finally, each meal must be within a certain price range, considering school meals range between $3.00 – 4.00 for lunch per child.
With our statewide average of 10-15 acres per operation, there are several peach orchards that could divert and diversify their marketing strategy to include farm to school avenues. If you have any questions about the webinar or about the program, contact the FDACS Division of Food, Nutrition and Wellness at 1-800-504-6609.
Program Director I – Procurement Compliance Division of Food, Nutrition and Wellness Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
I was just reminded that this month is National Peach month by a great article written by UF/IFAS Extension’s own Christine Kelly-Begazo in the TCPalm Newspaper (http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2013/aug/15/august-is-national-peach-month-enjoy-florida-peach/).
The largest peach that was ever grown weighed in at 25.6 ounces and was produced in Coloma, Michigan! The designation of August as National Peach month coincides with the largest production of peaches in the United States coming from both the east coast and the west coast.
Florida kicks everything off in late March and early April from orchards as far south as the Immokalee area. Many of the grocery stores have made room for our flavorful, tree-ripe product and promote “Fresh from Florida“. Some have even featured growers in the state on their marketing, which is very refreshing to see. We get to see the growers that work hard every day to bring a premium product to the marketplace and creates a connection between the consumer and producer.
As we increase the acreage and production of Florida peaches, we are seeing more product throughout Southeastern grocery stores. There has been fantastic response to the product, with consumers realizing fruit quality and flavor is as important as size and appearance. Research conducted by the National Peach Council found that if a consumer has a bad eating experience it takes about 2 weeks for them to try peaches again. Coincidentally, a new variety has probably rotated in by that point with differing fruit characteristics.
We all need to let consumers know that peaches from the U.S. are available in April, and they are from Florida!