In September, we purchased a thousand pounds of delicious muscadine grapes to serve at lunch at 24 schools!
Muscadines grow in the wild here in North Central Florida – and all over the southeast US. They are much smaller (but delicious) and help support a variety of wildlife, including deer, raccoons, and squirrels. Native Americans ate them, and early European immigrants began cultivating them.
Laray Thompson, of Thompson Nursery and Vineyard in Valrico grew ours. Before she became a grower, she was a teacher and was thrilled to know that her grapes would be heading to our food hub to be repacked by students for students.
To encourage students to give them a try, the Food and Nutrition department created educational signage for the lunch line as well as trading cards for elementary students to bring home with them.
A lot of students tried this local gem of a fruit for the first time this week. We are working on persimmons, another Florida native, for October’s Harvest of the Month.