On behalf of the state’s table grape growers, the California Table Grape Commission has donated 58 salad bars to schools in California’s grape growing regions. The first 28 went to schools in the Tulare County School District earlier this year. Another 30 salad bars will be delivered in late spring 2013 to schools in the Standard School District, Coachella Valley Unified School District, Alta Vista School District, Sequoia Union Elementary School District, Richgrove School District, Pleasant View Elementary School District, Porterville Unified School District and Visalia Unified School District.

“The salad bars make grapes and other fruits and vegetables easily accessible to students,” said Kathleen Nave, president of the commission. “USDA recommends that we all make half of our plate fruits and vegetables, so the salad bars are a practical way of helping kids to achieve this.”

The donation is through the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools program. Working with the California Department of Public Health, the commission was able to place the salad bars in schools that are part of the SNAP-ed (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education) program in California’s grape growing regions. In addition to the salad bar donations, the commission also developed a number of materials for students and their parents, as well as school foodservice personnel. These included bilingual flyers with health information and easy usage ideas, static clings for the salad bars, and a school-specific foodservice brochure outlining ways to store, handle and use grapes.

“While most people are familiar with grapes, there’s still a great deal to communicate on health benefits, storage and handling, and usage ideas. If we can make it easier for kids and families to incorporate grapes, and fruit and vegetables in general, into their snacks and meals, we can hopefully contribute in some small part to increased produce consumption and healthier lifestyles. That’s really what it’s all about,” said Nave.

Grapes of every color contain many kinds of antioxidants and other polyphenols, which means they help support heart health. With just 90 calories per ••• cup serving, grapes from California are available May through January.

The California Table Grape Commission was created by the California legislature in 1967 to increase worldwide demand for fresh California grapes through a variety of research and promotional programs.