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East Texas Partnerships bring local Watermelon and Sweet Potatoes to Texas students

" Greg Green Farms plays a major role in producing delicious Texas watermelons and sweet potatoes to East Texas school districts.
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For five generations, the family operating Greg Green Farms has played a major role in producing delicious Texas watermelons in East Texas. Now, Greg Green Farms is growing its reach with new customers at East Texas schools. Students in East Texas school districts including Tyler, Bullard, Lindale, Chapel Hill, Longview, Sabine and Henderson have begun enjoying Greg Green Farms watermelons and sweet potatoes. Also, other districts in the area are ready to begin purchasing in the spring.
  

Brady Green said his family’s persistence, along with training from Farm to School Amplifying Communities, were keys to building these purchasing relationships. The Amplifying Communities training is part of the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) Farm Fresh initiative. Since the training, the purchasing relationships between Greg Green Farms and local schools has been expanding. For instance, the relationship with Tyler ISD started small with Greg Green watermelons only served in the primary schools. The warm reception from students soon led to expanding the offerings to include sweet potatoes for meals and secondary schools being added to the program. Students recently enjoyed a delicious menu item of Greg Green Farms sweet potatoes served with honey from Henderson, cheese and bacon bits.

In a recent Local Products Challenge activity at Henderson Independent School District, Brady and his father showed elementary students how watermelons are planted and what they look like when they are picked straight from the farm. The Local Products Challenge is an annual event TDA uses to encourage school food authorities to incorporate more Texas products into menus.

For more strategies for purchasing Texas products, connect with your local Educational Service Center office and visit TDA's Farm Fresh Network.


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