Perfectly timed with the first JAZZ apple shipments of the Washington season, the Tour de Fresh embarked on its 300-mile trek down the California coast, on a quest for more school salad bars.
For its third-straight year, T&G Global — New Zealand-based owner of the JAZZ brand/varietal — was a premier sponsor of the four-day cycling event, which unites industry members around the common goal of bringing more salad bars into areas where fresh produce for schoolchildren may be scarce.
“The Tour de Fresh brings together industry-wide riders, who may be the fiercest of business competitors, but all that gets set aside when we get on our bikes,” said 2018 Tour de Fresh alum Chris Willett, general manager of ENZAFruit Products Inc., T&G’s Wenatchee, WA.-based arm. “I was proud to ride in it and hope to return in the future. T&G was pleased to support Tour de Fresh as a premier sponsor again this year.”
JAZZ was featured as a refreshment for cyclists throughout the Oct. 13-16 ride that raised slightly more than $180,000 — a record-breaking amount. Since 2014, Tour de Fresh has generated more than $750,000, delivering salad bars to more than 5,000 schools and 3 million students.
“As riders, we train weekly, in hopes of raising awareness that more kids need access to fresh produce and to get moving with exercise,” said Kelly Ansaldo, four-time Tour de Fresh rider who donned a JAZZ apple jersey for the first time this year. “The salad bars we ride for are for every student. You do not have to be high or low income, and you do not have to qualify. You simply walk up and sample what your heart desires.”
Fittingly, the JAZZ brand — sold domestically by Oppy, CMI Orchards and Rainier Fruit Co. — intends to resonate with “active” and “adventurous” lifestyles, across all demographics. Tangy-sweet, crunchy JAZZ apples readily align with the Tour de Fresh and its cause, as they are an ideal snack — healthful, flavorful and convenient — for a high-performing cyclist; or 10-year-old seeking reachable fruit.
Ansaldo believes it’s important for the produce industry to spread the childhood wellness message.
“I was ‘jazzed’ to ride in the Tour de Fresh because it combines my passion for the agriculture industry, cycling and healthy eating,” said Ansaldo, project developer at Coldwell Solar of Fresno. “As a child, I never knew the importance of a healthy meal; lunch could be cookies or a candy bar. I’m proud to have ridden for JAZZ, and I will continue coming back, as long as there are schools in need of salad bars.”