2017 Tour de Fresh Kicks Off With New Record Raised
- by Melissa De Leon Chavez
MORRO BAY, CA - And they're off! It's my third Tour de Fresh (I know, I can't believe it either), and it still wows me to see all the industry members take on a 275-mile trek.
This year we got to start off with United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel waving a Tour de Fresh flag, signaling the more than 50 riders on as they started from Pismo Beach to land the first leg in Morro Bay, California.
"I want to thank you for what you do," Tom shared with the group before they got their wheels turning. "Research has found that, given the option in school, children are eating twice as much fruits and vegetables. That is what you are helping happen."
Now in its fourth year, the Tour de Fresh is approaching an astounding $600,000 total for salad bars for schools around the U.S. And speaking of huge milestones, I am happy to report that for the first time in the ride's history, the year's goal was broken before we even hit the road!
"I just checked," Cindy Jewell, VP of Marketing for California Giant, said during the opening dinner Monday night. "We are at over $153,000."
Well over the $150,000 goals, I'm sure riders felt a little lighter on the tour knowing 50 new salad bars are already funded.
"It's a new and special feeling. It helps us to not feel the need to ride as hard, which then makes the ride even more fun. And if history proves right, we're only going to get better. It's a great feeling," shared Drew McDonald, Taylor Farms' VP of Quality and Food Safety, upon news that the crew had already reached their amount.
Special kudos go to Tour de Fresh veterans Robyn and Ed Purves, as well as new-comers Morgan Howe-Cobb and Cristen Bonz. Both teams have raised over $11,000 each.
It's far from over, you can still help set the bar even higher and support the team as they continue to take on the California coast to provide produce to kids.
After clocking about 70 miles yesterday, almost 13 of which were directly uphill in a way that even in the support car I caught myself thinking "Does this hill end?", they are at it again for what is said to be the toughest route in this year's ride!
Luckily, the team has had the support of cycling legends to ride with them. Yesterday, the crew rode with former Olympian Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, whose accolades exceed the length of this article spanning a 20-year career.
Today we are joined by Axel Merckx, a winner of the Belgian national road race championship in 2000, a bronze medal in the road race at the 2004 Olympic games in Athens, and son of five-time Tour de France champion Eddy Merckx.
As we witness stories from the road and make our way to the finish line in Monterey, California just in time for PMA Foodservice, keep checking in with AndNowUKnow.