BRIDGEWATER, N.J., Oct. 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- October is National Farm to School Month, and according to Chris Ely, who deals with thousands of farmers every day in his role as farmer liaison for Applegate, the leading producer of natural and organic meats and cheeses, you don't have to live in the country to put some farm fresh in your child's lunch.
"There's definitely a misconception that it's not possible to get fresh fruits, vegetables and other foods in school lunches if you live in urban areas," says Ely, co-founder of Applegate. "But the reality is, even in major metropolitan areas like Chicago, Detroit and Los Angeles, school districts are working with organizations and companies to get locally farmed foods to students."
And according to Ely, organizations like GrowingGreat, not only help bring local farm foods to schools, but help put gardens in schools. "That's truly the best of both worlds – kids are able to eat locally grown foods and get a hands-on education on where real food comes from – seed to plate."
To celebrate National Farm to School Month this October Applegate will offer a $250 gift card and a box of locally farmed foods to the person who offers the best post on Applegate's Facebook page about how to put farm fresh into a school lunch. Ely offers these tips on how to think out of the box when you're trying to fill the lunch box with items from the farm:
- CSA all the way – Many urban areas have Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) groups that support local farmers by delivering an assortment of fruits, vegetables and sometimes even dairy and meat items to a central distribution point in the city.
- Ask your local grocer – More and more supermarkets are trying to get locally grown fruits and vegetables in the produce section. Just ask the store manager what the possibilities are. You'll never know unless you ask.
- Get real – Much of farm to school is about "real" foods instead of processed foods. Take a look at what you're putting in your child's lunch and try to make sure that at least half the items are real, whole foods.
- Get involved – Find organizations like GrowingGreat (www.growinggreat.org) to help bring a garden or nutrition lessons to your child's school. Kids will learn about science and nutrition and discover that carrots don't come in tiny cylinders from a plastic bag at the supermarket.
- Know your natural – With so many foods being labeled "natural" these days, consumers really have to be aware of what it means. For example for meat companies, natural doesn't include how the animals were raised.
For more than 20 years, Applegate has been producing high-quality natural and organic hot dogs, bacon, sausages, deli meats, cheese and frozen products. Natural can mean many things, but when Applegate says their products are natural, consumers are guaranteed that the meat inside is:
- Raised without antibiotics or hormones
- From animals fed a vegetarian or 100% grass diet and treated with humane animal standards
- Free of added chemical nitrites, nitrates or phosphates
- Free of artificial ingredients or preservatives
For more information about our products, visit http://www.applegate.com/ .