May Harvest of the Month–Strawberries!

Posted by on May 11, 2018 | Comments Off on May Harvest of the Month–Strawberries!

May Harvest of the Month–Strawberries!

We have reached the end of the 2017-2018 school year and we have wrapped up another impactful year of Harvest of the Month. Our final Harvest of the Month crop was STRAWBERRIES! Today we got the answer to the question: “I mean, who doesn’t like Strawberries?” Short answer: NOT VERY MANY PEOPLE!

Students in the Elementary schools were greeted yesterday with this clue on the morning announcements: “This Harvest of the Month is a sign of springtime and often the first fruit to ripen. Their soft, red, juicy berry is found close to the ground. The seeds cover the outside of the fruit and it has small green leaves on top like a hat.” It didn’t take long for the students to conclude that it was Strawberries.

As anticipated (even though we doubled the original amount of strawberries we planned to order), we still ended yesterday without any leftover berries! Showcased through the amazing art created by Norah Floyd, a 7th Grader at Buford Middle School,the Strawberries were served in their beautiful, natural form: whole and fresh. We’re happy to say that they were a major hit from Pre-K all the way through 12th grade.

The excitement and appreciation of the Strawberries was so contagious in the lunch line at Jackson-Via, it was hard to not pass out the Strawberries by the quart! Students were whispering down the line as they heard that Strawberries were at the end. “Ohh—I love strawberries! Can I have an extra one?” was a common response— and one that was difficult to say no to. In the end, we were down to two or three strawberries left by the time we got through all the students- we had no issues finding someone to take the extra snacks, though!

So, full disclosure—yesterday’s berries were not from Virginia. They were not even from the east coast. As we learn in agriculture and growing, things don’t always go to plan. Just like the last year’s local arugula that was destroyed by a spring hail storm, local strawberries were not ready to be picked because of weather.

Thanks to late winter weather, with the final frost going into March, we were too early to procure local strawberries (especially when ordering 320 quarts). We had to find alternative sourcing for our Strawberries. The berries eaten yesterday came from where almost 90% of the US-grown Strawberries come from- California. For Harvest of the Month we try to procure our produce from as close to home as possible. Although we were disappointed we weren’t able to get them locally, there were no complaints from students. It’s hard to be upset when eating a Strawberry!

This year we have had quite the adventure with Harvest of the Month. We had 8 crops total, 4 cooked, 5 high preparation crops, 2 fruits, and 1 exciting year! We covered Cucumbers, Zucchini, Cauliflower, Sweet Potatoes, Winesap Apples, Butternut Squash, Baby Kale, and Strawberries.

I am looking forward to beginning preparation this summer to see what next year will have in store!