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Montana AG Network: Orchard brings fresh fruit to schools

Posted at 4:41 PM, Oct 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-07 18:41:47-04

POLSON — A farm-to-school program funded through the Montana Office of Public Instruction brings locally-farmed fruit and vegetables to schools across the state.

MTN News talked with an apple farmer on Finley Point who makes weekly deliveries to Kalispell schools throughout the fall.

Apples about as fresh as you can get -- that’s what Kalispell School District students get to enjoy during the fall months thanks to the farm-to-table program that brings locally farmed food to public schools.

Brian Campbell, the owner of Campbell Orchards on Finley Point, has been supplying fresh apples and pears to Kalispell schools for the past six years.

Campbell says most apples you see in grocery stores today were harvested last year, put into cold storage and treated with a preservative chemical.

He says his apples are simply picked right off the tree. “So the idea is actually for the kids to experience some locally grown things that are not totally processed.”


Kalispell Schools Food Service Director Jana Graham says apples are provided during school lunches and also made into fun treats like apple sauce and apple muffins.

Graham says fresh fruit is popular among students, with two suppliers bringing anywhere from 600 to 1000 pounds of apples on a weekly basis.

“The apples are always so good, crisp and sweet, tart, we love working with those apple growers," Graham said.

Along with fresh fruit, Graham says Kalispell schools work with farmers in the spring and summer months bringing in fresh vegetables.

“We try to have as many relationships with local farmers as we can," he told MTN News.

Campbell says he will make apple deliveries to Kalispell schools for the next eight weeks. Campbell Orchards also delivers fresh fruit to the Polson School District.