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The United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Services, in concert with the Department of Defense (DOD), Defense Supply Center developed a fresh fruit and vegetable program to expand the variety of fresh produce available for menu planning through the National School Lunch Program. This project began in 1994 as a pilot program with eight states participating. New Jersey joined this effort in 1995 through the NJDA’s Division of Markets, Food Distribution Program, recently consolidated into the newly created Division of Food and Nutrition.

The DOD program in New Jersey distributes more than 800,000 pounds of fresh produce during the school year, utilizing a portion of their annual federal school lunch commodity entitlement. During September and October locally grown products are selected for purchase, thus supporting New Jersey’s peach, blueberry, tomato, cucumber, pepper, and lettuce growers. The NJDA produce orders are processed through direct purchase by the DOD’s Personnel Support Center in Philadelphia.

The NJDA has worked closely with DOD to expand the variety of fresh fruits and vegetables offered on school menus. New Jersey schools offer value-added products consisting of frozen blueberry cups, pineapple push-ups, apple slices, apple cider, tangerine juice, and salad mixes to name a few.

NJDA actively supports and encourages children to increase their consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables through food shows and exhibits jointly sponsored by the DOD, the New Jersey School Food Service Association (NJSFSA), and the NJDA.

You may access additional information about DOD through their website at