ANN ARBOR – Just after noon today, third-graders at Pattengill Elementary in Ann Arbor were excited and racing about as their principal, Melita Alston, handed out apples from wooden crates in the school yard.
She told them to wait to take a bite, since taking a bite in unison is what the event is all about. Many playfully pretended to take bites. At the count of three, Alston gave the go-ahead, and the group of roughly thirty kids all gleefully bit into their apples at the same time.
Students 'crunching' at Pattengill Elementary in Ann Arbor (Photo: Meredith Bruckner)
Today was the fifth annual Michigan's Apple Crunch day organized by Cherry Capital Foods to celebrate the vibrant food system in the state of Michigan. Nearly one million crunchers from across the state marked the day by taking bites out of locally grown apples.
According to the event's website, organizers hope to make it the "crunch heard round the great lakes."
Tiffany Houston instructs students during the event (Photo: Meredith Bruckner)
Tiffany Houston, director of dining service at Ann Arbor Public Schools, said Pattengill Elementary was an obvious choice for the event. “We have a great working relationship with the principal, Ms. Alston, so obviously she was a good choice to (help) launch our program here," she said. "We’re trying to educate the students on buying local and putting a face to the produce.”
Principal Alston said she was excited to bring Michigan's Apple Crunch to her school. "When we were approached to do this, we said, ‘Absolutely,’ because it fits into all we’re already doing with fitness and health. We saw this as an opportunity to showcase Pattengill, our Pattengill families, as well as the agricultural community that we have here in Ann Arbor, Michigan.”
Apple display in the school's cafeteria (Photo: Meredith Bruckner)
As for the kids, Alston said they were eager to take part. "I think they’re really excited. We always have healthy fruit and vegetables in our lunch and it’s accessible to all the kids. To highlight that on a special day (like this) and to be a part of something that’s bigger than our community is just amazing.”
Third-grader Ben, 7, said between bites, “I think that it’s really fun to have apples delivered to the school and it’s really fun to eat them (knowing) they’re from our local state."
Read more about the event on its website.