Claire Gaut and Jamie Crist were sharing a casual lunch in Shaw Hall on Monday, unaware that a part of their meal was grown just a few miles down the road.
The international relations junior and humanities-pre-law sophomore were both eating apples grown on farms in the Lansing area. Shaw Hall cafeteria served the apples as part of a celebration of Michigan Apple Week.
MSU Culinary Services is participating in the week by featuring various recipes made from Michigan apples at dining halls and Sparty’s Convenience Stores across campus.
“I think it’s kind of fun,” Gaut said. “It gets everyone in the spirit for fall.”
Michigan is the third largest producer of apples in the U.S., and apples are Michigan’s largest fruit crop, which MSU wants to draw attention to, Director of MSU Culinary Services Guy Procopio said.
“We want to bring awareness to varieties in the sense that Michigan is in the top three in the nation as far as growing apples,” Procopio said.
“Michigan is a very diverse state in agriculture, and apples (are) a very large part of the Michigan economy.”
Select dining halls will be featuring the fresh fruit in various forms, including applesauce, cider, pies and everything in between. Today’s apple specialities include hot applesauce, Michigan apple cheddar dip and Michigan apple smoothies.
“What we’re highlighting every day of the week is different recipes. … We pretty much highlight a whole bunch of (apples): Golden Delicious, Fuji, Gala,” Campus Services Brand Manager Sojo Alex said.
The different apple-based meals this week are available for viewing at eatatstate.com.
Sparty’s Convenience Stores also are participating in Michigan Apple Week, selling apples and apple products at most locations.
“Michigan not only produces (apples), but in my opinion, we produce the best apples in the nation,” Procopio said.
The Mitten’s apple industry stretches across the entire state, but a large portion of farmers are in the Lansing area. Eighteen cider mills and orchards are located in the south central region of Michigan and many of those farms are family-owned and run.
“Being local is one big thing that we want to push out there on campus and let everyone know that we are supporting Michigan,” Alex said.
Gaut and Crist both support the university’s attempt to create local food awareness.
“I think it’s great that they’re putting local products in food here,” Gaut said. “It’s great for the environment and Michigan’s economy.”
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