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MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) – Madison City School leaders are making an initiative to utilize and support local farmers here in the Tennessee Valley. Some of the produced served everyday in the cafeteria comes from  farms in Madison County.

Madison City Schools and Madison County Schools both get their apples from Scott’s Apple Orchard in Hazel Green. Other schools in Alabama are catching onto the trend. This year Scott’s Orchard provided apples to 1,500 schools statewide.

Marty Tatara is a child nutrition coordinator and she says this is a great way to support the local economy; but most importantly, it is a healthier choice for the students. “The longer a fruit stays on the tree or the vine, the more nutrition that it builds. If you pick them in California and truck them across the United States, you are not going to get the nutritional value as you will if it is picked locally,” says Tatara.

Several teachers and school leaders have noticed that since the change; student are eating more apples. The nutrition coordinator says that kindergarten students through 12th grade can taste difference when the produce is fresh. “We have noticed the consumption the amount that we order and the amount that we actually go through has increased,” says Tatara.

Will Scott is a fifth-generation farmer for Scott’s Orchard and on Monday he went to visit Columbia Elementary to talk to students about how he grows the apples that they eat. All the students were very interested in how apples are grown and were all eager to ask questions. Scott believes it is important to educate the children while they are young so they can make health decision when they get older. “It helps a lot of the farmers in our community. The kids knowing that they can go to a farmers market and get all their fruits and vegetables locally fresh. They even taste better than the ones that have taken weeks to get to the grocery store,” says Scott.

This year Scott’s Orchard has delivered 132,000 apples to Madison City and Madison County Schools.