HardCORE CT Apple Challenge

Celebrate Farm to School month with us this October!

Apple Challenge Toolbox

Take the #CTAppleChallenge to celebrate #CTGrown, and spread awareness about the importance of food education. There are 3 ways to participate: 1) Eat a #CTGrown apple down to its core! 2) Try 2 different types of #CTGrown apple, or 3) Visit a local apple orchard.

We hope you find everything you need to host fun apple-themed activities this October! Of course, if you need something that’s not here, we’re just an email or a phone call away.


The full toolbox includes the following:

Promotional Materials        



       Community Newsletter


       Temporary tattoos





        A letter describing the apple challenge to  potential partners

       An editable community newsletter template

      Social Media 


Procurement Tools

       How to use the Micropurchase Threshold for Procuring Local Produce

       Local Foods Procurement Decision Tree



       Explore the Teacher Resources on the CT Apple Marketing Board page!

Ready to join the #CTAppleChallenge?


Promotional Materials



  • Print your own on avery labels
  • Hand out as prizes for completing the CT Apple Challenge
  • Download Sticker







  • Hang somewhere at your site when local apples are on the menu
  • Hang on the front of a table where you’ve set up apple taste tests or activities
  • Take a picture of a kid eating an apple in front of it and post it on social media. (Hint: don’t forget to mention the farm that grew your apples!)
  • Download Posters










  • Edit the front page to let everyone know when you’ll be serving local
  • Send home with students
  • Hand out to the PTO
  • Share with administrators
  • Leave a stack at the local library (and use the Apple Letter to let them know what the project is all about!) 
  • Download Newsletter








  • Print your own and hand out as prizes for completing the CT Apple Challenge
  • Include in bagged lunches
  • Leave a stack at the local library (and use the community engagement letter to let them know what the project is all about!
  • Download the bookmark















  • Print your own temporary tattoos and hand out as prizes for completing the CT Apple Challenge (we recommend 2″x2″)
  • Use as rewards for participating in other apple-themed activities (see activity section below)
  • Take pictures of kids eating local apples with their apple tattoos and post to social media (if you have photo permissions of course) Tag us @CTFarmToSchool, and #CTAppleChallenge, #ctgrown (see Communications section below for more social media ideas)
  • Download Tatoos


We’ve collected a number of recipe ideas for incorporating local apples into your summer menu, whether you offer hot or cold meals. These recipes have been developed, tested, and approved by school food service professionals and kids!

Butternut Squash and Apple Casserole

Couple apples with another quintessential taste of fall with this recipe. This is a recipe contest winner from Pittsfield Public Schools in Massachusetts, and is sure to brighten up any lunch line!

Vermont Maple Apple French Toast Bake

A warm breakfast treat to serve on a crisp fall morning! This is a great recipe to liven up any leftover bread.

Gingered Cabbage Salad

Spice up a cabbage salad with a touch of fresh ginger and a hint of sweetness from crisp apples!

Peanut Butter Apple Wraps

A simple, familiar pairing sure to satisfy the taste buds!

Wheat Berry & Apple Salad

A great way to introduce wheat berries with a familiar fruit!

Waldorf Fruit Salad

A classic take on fresh apples!


*NOTE: We’re always looking for more great recipes – if you have one you like, send it our way!



Community Engagement

Community engagement is a key piece of celebrating farm to school. We want more families to know about and take advantage of the important service you provide, and we want community partners to know about the great work you are doing. We’ve drafted a template letter (CT Apple Challenge Community Engagement Letter) for you to send out to your community partners to let them know you’ve signed onto the HardCORE CT Apple Challenge, and let them know how they can help out! Feel free to edit this to suit your individual program and needs. Here are some ways you could use this letter:

  • Send to PTO to solicit help out with a Local Tray Day event (community package provided to them)
  • Ask your local grocery store to feature local apples in the produce section, provide recipe cards
  • Ask your local library to put together an apple book table (some specific books are recommended in the activity section)”


Social Media

Here we’ve put together some sample text to help you get the word out about your HardCORE activities during the CT Apple Challenge

  • School newsletter sample text:
    • “____ [school district] has taken on the HardCORE CT Apple Challenge to celebrate Farm to School month! We’ll be serving local apples and handing out prizes during the month of October!”
  • Facebook sample text:
    • General Post: We’re participating in the HardCORE CT Apple Challnge! We’re serving up #local, #fresh, #ctgrown apples in our school meals in October. 
    • Promoting a specific HardCORE apple event: Join us in being HardCORE by eating some local apples this week at ___ site on ___day! We’ll be doing __(activity)___as a part of the CT Apple Challenge. Fall is here and we’re happy to be supporting #ctfarmers, and learning #healthyhabits!
  • Twitter
    • Hey @CTFarmToSchool, we’ve taken the #CTAppleChallenge at __ site in ___today serving #local, #fresh apples from ___ farm!
  • Instagram
    • Create your own with these great hashtags!: #CTAppleChallenge, #HardCORE, #ctlocal, #eatlocal, #eatfresh, #crunch, #FarmToSchool, #CTGrown


Community Newsletter


The Community Newsletter is a colorful double-sided editable resource that includes apple nutritional facts, a take-home recipe and activity. You can hand these out at your apple event, or send them out ahead of time to let folks know about upcoming events. The main section on the front page is ideal for including information about how you’re celebrating local apples this fall! Download Newsletter







Procurement Tools

Finding local produce and making sure you follow USDA procurement guidelines isn’t an easy task, so we’ve pulled together some tools to make it easier for you to find local apples this fall.

  • Using the Micro Purchase Threshold: This tool explains how to use the micro purchase threshold for procuring local  produce. It also provides a worksheet to help you keep accurate records for your review.
  • Local Foods Procurement Decision TreeNot sure whether you should use a micro-purchase, informal, or formal bid process to purchase your local produce this fall? Check out this helpful decision tree from USDA FNS. 

Have questions? Talk with our Procurement Specialist! Email Mary Ann


Our friends on the CT Apple Marketing Board have a great teacher resource page filled with all things apples. There are a variety of activity sheets, flashcards, and a list of over 50 reading selections to enhance your HardCORE CT Apple events!

Check it out here!