Apples are for more than teachers

Enterprise file photo — Michael Koff

An apple tree is full of ripe fruit at Indian Ladder Farms. 

In a few months, school will be back in session and apples will be growing at Indian Ladder Farms. The farm, as part of an initiative with the not-for-profit Capital Roots, will be sending hundreds of pounds of apples to schools in the Capital Region.

“This year is kind of the biggest year,” said Chris Carballeira, the assistant farm manager at Indian Ladder Farms.

Amy Klein, the chief executive officer at Capital Roots, said that in the last two years since the program began it has served eight or nine school districts. This year, 25 will be served.

The program, funded by a grant from the New York State Farm to School Institute, has around a dozen area farms sell produce to Capital Roots, which sells and delivers the produce from its Troy hub to school districts. Products include apples, tomatoes, potatoes, and carrots, said Klein.

Klein said that efforts by the program to connect with more school districts and farms has led to the increase in schools served. In previous years, produce has been sold to the Bethlehem, East Greenbush, Rensselaer, North Colonie, Troy, Hoosic Valley, and Cohoes school districts, she said.

Carballeira said Voorheesville is another district in the program, and added that one of the newest districts to join will be the Guilderland Central School District.

In previous years, Carballeira said, Indian Ladder Farms has shipped around 300 bushels, or 1,200 pounds, of apples to local schools. This year, he expects the amount to increase seven or eight times over. The farm is able to send its smaller apples that may be passed over in the grocery store, but are just right for young students, he said.

New York is the second largest apple producer in the country, noted Klein.

“At the very least, local kids could be eating local apples,” she said, of the organization’s mindset.

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