Since the summer, the Tyler ISD Food Service Department has taken a "farm-to-school" approach to its fresh fruit offerings on lunch menus.

Each year, the department evaluates ways to offer wholesome and tasty menu choices while coming up with new items to keep students’ interest. This year, the new item was fresh from the farm watermelons grown by Greg Green Farms in Henderson.

“Government agencies have requested more local produce be used in the National School Meal Programs, and for that reason, local farmers have been more accessible to our program for bidding on fresh produce,” said Victor Olivares, Tyler ISD food services director. “We also have to consider cost and usable product. Greg Green Farms provided a great product with a very competitive price.”

Greg Green Farms grows watermelon and cantaloupe, however the cantaloupe crop did not make this year due to Mother Nature. Watermelon will continue to be in season and offered to Tyler ISD students through October. Watermelon is the only farm-to-school item planned for this year.

“Next year, we look to continue with watermelon from Greg Green Farms and they hope to have other melons after the watermelon season is done,” Olivares said. “We are also open to other options of farm to school produce as they come available and are priced competitively for our program.”