Participating in the Illinois Great Apple Crunch is easy! All you need is to serve local apples in the cafeteria on Apple Crunch day, which is always the second Thursday in October. We also encourage schools to participate in educational enrichment activities on the day.

Please share your Crunch on your school’s social media pages! Add a photo of your Crunch with the hashtag #GreatAppleCrunch. Check out the hashtag on the day to see Crunches from all over the Midwest.

Here are the steps to follow in order to participate:

  1. Register your school, feeding site, program or business in our online form.
  2. Locate a source to buy your local apples. We strongly suggest purchasing the apples as opposed to asking for a donation of apples! Farm to School supports local producers.
    • Contact your feeding site food service manager and share information on the program. Ask them to include local apples on the menu for the second Thursday in October. Putting local apples on the menu should be easy for your food service staff. If there are any questions about what local farms are selling apples, ask your district Food Service Manager first to contact their regular produce supplier and tell them about the Great Apple Crunch. If that company isn’t sure where to buy local apples, please contact the Illinois Farm to School program or the Illinois Farm Bureau for more in-depth assistance. Check the Crunch Guide for tips and ways to procure apples!
    • Look for a local orchard and request pricing on small apples. Many times orchards do not have a robust market for smaller apples, which could be a benefit tor you! Check the Crunch Guide for tips and easy ways to locate orchards near you!
  3. After you register, contact the Illinois Farm to School Network (below) to request a poster for your site(s). Hang the poster up in the cafeteria or in a central location.
  4. Download the educational resources, including the Crunch Guide for Illinois.

If you have any questions, please contact the Illinois Farm to School Network.

Where can I find local apples?

Check out the Crunch Guide for tips and best practices in locating and purchasing local apples for your event! Can’t find local apples near you? The Crunch guide provides ways to buy them from your foodservice department, from local stores and produce vendors and direct from area orchards.

  • Look for orchards near you at Orange Pippin and at the University of IL Extension
  • Do you have funds available to purchase apples? Ask your participating foodservice department to purchase additional apples for your taste test, or for brown-bag kids at your site.

If you need more information before you register, please check out this informative webinar from the 2015 Illinois Great Apple Crunch.