“Vegetable Venture” program helps provide students with local produce year round

Quick freeze technology helps preserve nutrients in vegetables for later use

Greenfield, Mass. (WWLP) – The “Pioneer Valley Vegetable Venture” is back again this year. The Franklin County Community Development Corporation is working with the Hampshire Council of Governments on this program.

It will allow schools to buy locally-grown fruits and vegetables in bulk starting this fall. Through the program, the Franklin County CDC takes in produce from local farms, processes it and then freezes it.

They use “Individual Quick Freezing” technology to ensure the produce maintains maximum nutrients. The program helps to increase access to local food year round.

“Local food is a huge movement here,” Food Business Development Specialist Joanna Benoit explained. “And there’s always the question how do you procure local food in January, February and March. And this kind of helps answer that question.”

Benoit told 22News they’re building a freezer on site that will be able to store more of the produce in this program. It will have three tiers and over 80 pallets of freezer space.

It’s expected to be ready for use in September. Benoit said their produce includes peppers, broccoli, butternut squash, carrots, and potatoes.