Wedging apples

Fresh-cut Farm-to-School Program

Local fruits and vegetables are not typically found in school cafeteria lunches because of various barriers surrounding supply, coordination, and distribution. Fortunately for the North Country, St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES, Cornell Cooperative Extension of St. Lawrence County, and Big Spoon Kitchen developed a 3-way partnership in 2018 and began the Fresh-cut Farm-to-School Program, which supplies minimally processed local produce for student school lunches throughout the region. After 5 years of collaboration, there is so much information and success to share about the program.

BOCES School Food Service Director Artie Frego shares, “The Farm to School partnership between St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES, Cornell Cooperative Extension and Big Spoon Kitchen is a win-win for schools, farmers, and communities. By promoting healthy eating habits and supporting local agriculture, this partnership is helping to improve the health and well-being of students and the local community”

Each partner has a unique role. Extension’s Harvest Kitchen provides a commercial kitchen space to prepare the food with specialized equipment, Big Spoon Kitchen sources the produce and performs the minimal processing (slicing and dicing), and St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES manages the orders from the schools and delivers to the 21 participating schools.

The success of the Fresh-cut Farm-to-School Program depends on local farmers and their high quality product. The program sources fruits and vegetables from 12 local and regional farms. Produce is minimally processed into apple slices, carrot coins, salsa mix, coleslaw mix, and diced butternut squash. These fresh fruits and vegetables offer healthy food options for 21 North Country schools.

The Farm to School Program is hard at work experimenting with new frozen products lines to increase the diversity of produce that is processed and available. One brand new product includes sweet corn!

The farmers who participate in the program and the produce they supply include:

  • Applewood Orchards, Rensselaer Falls - Apples
  • Phillips Agriculture, Heuvelton- Corn
  • Canton Apples, Canton - Apples
  • Forrence Orchards, Peru - Apples
  • Goodwin Orchards, Potsdam - Apples
  • Juniper Hill Farm,Wadhams - Carrots
  • Keim, Hopkinton- tomatoes, butternut
  • Kent Family Growers, Lisbon - Carrots, Cabbage
  • Main Street Farms, Cortland - Carrots
  • Miller, Brasher Falls-Tomatoes
  • Martins Farmstand, Potsdam - Beans, Tomatoes, Peppers, Onions, Cabbage
  • Northern Orchard, Peru - Apples
  • Parishville Center Orchards, Parishville - Apples
  • Spring House Farm, Potsdam- Corn
  • Stick and Stone Farm, Ithaca - Carrots
  • Zook Family Farm, Potsdam - Butternut Squash, Tomatoes, Peppers, Onions, Cabbage

The school districts that order from the program include:

  • Brasher Falls Central
  • Canton Central
  • Clifton-Fine Central
  • Colton-Pierrepont Central
  • Edwards-Knox Central
  • General Brown Central
  • Gouverneur Central
  • Hammond Central
  • Harrisville Central
  • Hermon-DeKalb Central
  • Heuvelton Central
  • Lisbon Central
  • Lyme Central
  • Madrid-Waddington Central
  • Massena Central
  • Morristown Central
  • Norwood-Norfolk Central
  • Parishville-Hopkinton Central
  • Potsdam Central
  • Sackets Harbor Central
  • Watertown City


Maria 'Flip' Filippi
Local Foods Program Leader & Harvest Kitchen Manager
315-379-9192 ext 229

Last updated December 21, 2023