Berry fresh: Berkeley County schools use local farm produce

  • Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Photos by Lindsay Street/Independent Cane Bay Elementary cafeteria staff slice up fresh strawberries from Hickory Bluff Nursery and Berry Farm.


First and second graders filed into the line, each peering through the glass case to see what's for lunch at Cane Bay Elementary.

They're in luck. It's still strawberry season, and they even have a selection of fresh or cooked squash and zucchini. All of it farm fresh and from a farm in Berkeley County.

While it's clear the strawberries are the favorite among the kids and faculty, the squash and zucchini still got requests in the lunch line. “They love the strawberries — all kids love strawberries,” Cane Bay cafeteria manager Jean Ravan said.

It was the first time the cafeteria offered squash, but other vegetables, like broccoli and cabbage, have gained favor with students. “They're always asking for more.”

And while most kids don't want to go to summer school, the summer program gets summer-ripe berries and fresh tomatoes.

Berkeley County School District has worked with Hickory Bluff Nursery and Berry Farm for two years. The farm is Good Agriculture Practices certified, which allows it to sell fresh food to the district.

Cane Bay Elementary isn't the only school to receive the food. The process begins Sunday with a text to district Support Services Special Child Nutrition specialist Charline Turnage from the farm, letting her know what will be available in the upcoming week. Then, within two to three days, all schools in the district have had a delivery of fresh produce.

Schools like Cane Bay Elementary will go through 100 pounds of strawberries in two days. And using a local farmer and getting fresher produce doesn't cost any extra money to the district, according to Turnage.

“It doesn't cost us any extra, and it's keeping our spending local. It's keeping that money in Berkeley County,” she said.

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