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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, MAY 16, 2007



Contact: Gary Gay, director
NCDA&CS Food Distribution Division
(919) 575-4490

'Berry' delicious N.C. strawberries are on school menus in May

RALEIGH - North Carolina schools seem to have caught strawberry fever based on the 2007 orders of North Carolina strawberries through the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Farm to School program. This year marks the third year in a row that orders have grown to a new record level.

Sixty-nine school systems ordered 13,123 flats of strawberries that will be part of school lunches in May. This is up nearly 8 percent above 2006 orders. Between 2005 and 2006, orders grew more than 75 percent, with a previous record of 12,450 flats purchased in 2006.

"We've heard from schools across the state about how much the children love fresh North Carolina berries and look forward to seeing them on the cafeteria line. Luckily for the students, many growers dodged severe damage from the Easter freeze and have plenty of berries to meet the orders," said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. "I am pleased the program continues to grow each year, because I know kids are getting a nutritious, great-tasting snack and that the program supports local farms."

NCDA&CS Food Distribution and Marketing divisions coordinate the Farm to School Program, with assistance from the U.S. Department of Defense. In addition to strawberries, school systems are able to purchase other commodities, including watermelons, cantaloupes, tomatoes, apples, pumpkins, cabbage, broccoli and sweet potatoes. Food Distribution coordinates deliveries of the commodities from the farms to the school systems, and the Marketing Division works with farmers to fill orders.

Participating school systems are: Alamance County, Alexander County, Alleghany County, Anson County, Ashe County, Asheboro City, Asheville City, Avery County, Bladen County, Brunswick County, Buncombe County, Burke County, Cabarrus County, Carteret County, Chatham County, Cherokee County, Clay County, Clinton City, Craven County, Currituck County, Dare County, Davie County, Edenton Chowan, Elkin City, Fort Bragg Dependents, Franklin County, Gaston County, Gates County, Graham County, Guilford County, Harnett County, Henderson County, Hertford County, Hickory City Schools, Hyde County, Jackson County, Johnston County, Jones County, Kannapolis City, Lee County, Lincoln County, Madison County, Mitchell County, Montgomery County, Mount Airy City, Nash-Rocky Mount, New Hanover County, Newton Conover City, Northampton County, Pamlico County, Perquimans County, Randolph County, Roanoke Rapids City, Rockingham County, Rowan County, Stanly County, Stokes County, Surry County, Swain County, Thomasville City, Union County, Vance County, Wake County, Warren County, Whiteville City, Wilkes County, Wilson County, Yadkin County and Yancey County.

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NCDA&CS Public Affairs Division, Brian Long, Director
Mailing Address:1001 Mail Service Center, Raleigh NC 27699-1001
Physical Address: 2 West Edenton Street, Raleigh NC 27601
Phone: (919) 707-3001; FAX: (919) 733-5047