Farm to School Success Story: Maryland Homegrown School Lunch Week Celebrates with Local Maryland Apples


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On an early fall day in September, 450 students at Washington Grove Elementary School learned first-hand what locally grown Maryland apples taste like—and the verdict is, “delicious!”

As part of Maryland’s Homegrown School Lunch week, Montgomery County SNAP-Ed educators brought two varieties of freshly-harvested apples to the school for students to try. During lunchtime, each student was offered one slice of each variety, and asked to vote on their favorite. While students liked both apples, the Golden Supreme earned slightly more votes than the Ruby Mac, landing it in first place as the tasting winner.  

This apple tasting was the first of four cafeteria tasting events at the school throughout the year, and was a kickoff event for the school’s new Smarter Lunchroom program. The date was chosen to coincide with Maryland’s Homegrown School lunch week, an annual event in September when all public schools in Maryland feature locally-grown items on the school lunch menu to celebrate the statewide Farm to School program.

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During the tasting, students were also given Farmer Trading cards that highlight local farmers. These cards were provided by the Montgomery County Office of Agriculture and feature area farms that participate in the annual Montgomery County Farm Tour. Representatives from Montgomery County Public Schools, the Maryland Department of Agriculture, and the Maryland State Department of Education also joined in the fun, and shared photos on social media to celebrate the event. Students, teachers, and special guests enjoyed the tasting, and finished the day with extra enthusiasm for Maryland apples, and for Maryland farmers. 

To learn more about your state’s Farm to School program, visit the National Farm to School Network.

To learn more about Maryland’s Homegrown School Lunch Week, visit the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s Farm to School website.

For more info on the Smarter Lunchroom program, visit the national Smarter Lunchroom website. 


Joi Vogin, MS, CNS, LDN, University of Maryland Extension

Header Photo: “Apples, apples, apples” by James Cridland is licensed under CC BY 2.0