‘‘It’s revolutionary to our valley,’’ Soiseth said. ‘‘Many of the new farmers we use are in our backyard, and we've been trying to reach out to them for a while, but we didn’t know how.’’
And the price is right, Soiseth said: the district purchased Gala apples via Ag Link last week for 17 cents apiece, while through normal channels they would have cost 42 cents. The apples grow on a farm a dozen miles away.
Local farmers say Ag Link has helped them tap into a new market — the National School Lunch Program that serves 32 million children nationwide every day.
Noel La Rosa, who with her husband grows nectarines, peaches, cherries, plums, tomatoes, and watermelons on 40 acres in Hughson, Calif., has delivered cases of stone fruit to Turlock schools and is set to make a delivery to the Denair Unified School district this week.
‘‘Our dream was to bring fresh fruit to schools,’’ La Rosa said, ‘‘and this company showed up on our door to help make the connections.’’
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