School districts partner with Belton lettuce farm for school lunches

Published: Mar. 21, 2021 at 2:59 PM CDT
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Belton, Texas (KWTX) - A little known farm in Belton is looking to put the city on the map as the lettuce capital of Texas.

The True Harvest Farm sits in north Belton and produces more than a million heads of lettuce a year. A variety of lettuce are grown through automation in a greenhouse through a type of hydroponics process that targets the plants roots with minerals-infused water.

“There’s a need for lettuce because of the climate in Texas being so challenging,” said Marshall McDaniel, one of the owners of True Harvest Farm. “Most of the lettuce we buy in our grocery stores and in our schools is coming out of California.”

That’s the reality for Belton ISD.

“Most of our produce is local but not local in Belton. It’s local to Texas and to the United States,” said Donna Shelton, the assistant director for nutrition services at Belton ISD.

The district has partnered with Ture Harvest as its chosen vendor for lettuce beginning in April.

“There’s an education component there for the kids to see where their food comes from; to be able to taste fresh produce,” McDaniel said.

McDaniel said they’ve also partnered with Temple ISD, local restaurants and retailers like Brookshire Brothers and Sprouts Farmers Market.

Belton ISD said the partnership is not legally binding and can be terminated at any time. True Harvest said they welcome students from their partner school districts to visit for field trips and learn how the lettuce is grown.

The entire process of growing the lettuce from seeding to packaging is all done in the farm’s 50,000-square-foot facility

McDaniel said their goal for True Harvest Farm is epitomized in their slogan: “Rooted in Belton, TX”.

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