This past November, with nec­essary paperwork com­pleted, Glei’s Orchards and Green­houses part­nered with Bon Appetit as a local provider of apples and apple cider. The part­nership comes as Bon Appetit attempts to achieve their goal of pur­chasing 20% of their products from locally sourced providers through their Farm to Fork ini­tiative.

With the part­nership, Glei’s joins the list of mul­tiple other local food providers that have part­nered with Bon Appetit through the ini­tiative including Zingerman’s Coffee in Ann Arbor, Blue Hat Coffee in Cold­water, and Gun­thorp Farms in LaGrange, Indiana. 

“We’re looking to expand part­ner­ships where it makes sense and is strate­gi­cally ben­e­ficial to both parties, “ Hillsdale Bon Appetit General Manager David Apthorpe said. “It’s a chal­lenge to pur­chase 20% of our food locally, but it is a goal.”

Mar­keting Coor­di­nator Wiliam Persson believes the Farm to Fork program is important for the many ben­efits it pro­vides to the con­sumer and the provider.

“The food is fresher and it sup­ports your local com­mu­nities,” he said. “A lot of times there is also a lot of waste behind food in a grocery store that is typ­i­cally reduced when you’re buying from a farmer.”  

Crop waste can occur when farmers feel the pressure to only sell the best-looking fruit to grocery stores, and dump the ugly parts of their crops that grocery stores won’t buy.

“We don’t really care about that,” Persson said, “If they have a weird looking potato, we’ll buy it.” 

“Just because it’s ugly doesn’t mean it’s not good,” he said.  

Buying local products often yields fresher ingre­dients because preser­v­a­tives are not nec­essary to transport over short dis­tances. 

Glei’s has been a local family run business for 101 years, and is cur­rently run by the grandson of the original owner.

Just over three miles from campus, the orchard uses safe methods to keep apples fresh all year round. 

By replacing the oxygen with nitrogen in con­trolled atmos­phere storages, Glei’s can store apples all year long after har­vesting. 

“You basi­cally put them to sleep and can store them year-round to keep them just as fresh as when they came off the street,” owner and general manager Damon Glei said. “Some arguably taste better after they’ve been stored for a while.”

After a recent census with the USDA, the orchard now has 75,000 trees in pro­duction, and Glei antic­i­pates a much larger crop coming soon.

“We put our name on it, and you don’t make it 100 years by putting your name on a bad product,” Glei said, “I don’t want someone to have a bad expe­rience; if I have my name on it, that’s on me.”