Farm to School Profile: Lone Tree Foods

Farm Name: Lone Tree Foods

Address: 15255 Sw 114th St, Crete NE 68333

Farm Type (i.e. produce, beef, orchard): Lone Tree Foods is similar to a Food Hub, a producer-owned company that connects local farmers with wholesale buyers. Lone Tree Foods offers products from other local farms and currently works with 30 different farms. A one-stop shop for local items. 

Acreage + any high tunnel, low tunnel, greenhouses or other season extension used: Multiple farmers provide the products, so the local items come from many different types of farms in Nebraska and Iowa.

Who works on your farm? Farmers, bookkeeper, and sales manager. Most of the employees are farmers themselves.

Schools you are selling to in the past year:

  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) dining halls & training table for athletic department
  • Council Bluffs Community Schools
  • Omaha West Side
  • Norris School District
  • Prairie Hill

Items/Foods regularly sold to schools

  • UNL is currently buying bison and produce
  • Schools are asking for salad mixes, green beans, sweet pots, broccoli, and winter squash

Activities at the school you’ve participated in or had the school out to your farm to participate in: We participated in Norris School District’s Farm to School Month where we provided farmer bios on our products to share with students. We also helped with planning which types of produce would be served throughout month, as well as providing those items to the school.

Past programs we have helped with are the Council Bluffs, Iowa, summer program.

Share your biggest Farm to School success: “‘Taking it from conversation to reality’ we have been able to identify schools that are able to source locally.” - Justin Jones, President of Lone Tree Foods and Jones Produce

Share your biggest Farm to School challenge: Budget issues pertaining to schools being able to purchase products while meeting their budget. Food quality is great, but being able to integrate into the menu on a rolling basis while staying within the budget is challenging.

Share your best tip or advice for fresh food procurement, processing and/or storage: We minimize the direct purchasing steps and help establish the order and source the food while providing advice on local products. The products are delivered to schools and packaged by individual farmers.

When farmers are harvesting at the right time, schools are accustomed to handling it in a way that they are used to using or handling. Lone Tree Foods is bridging that gap between the school and the farmer.

“Schools do need to be clear about expectations on how food is packaged. There will be variations, and we need to know what they need so we can meet those standards. We encourage feedback, good or bad, from the schools.” - Justin Jones, President of Lone Tree Foods and Jones Produce 

Where does your farm tell its story?

Other information you’d like to share about your farm or experience or a fun story from working with a school: Lone Tree Foods is looking for more producers who want to sell to schools. We have a full-time sales person to help you with ordering, and we work on your behalf to provide the connections. When we work with a school, it feels more comprehensive and allows a small producer to work with a larger range of products.

Lone Tree Foods is looking to expand to restaurants, schools, and wholesalers.

Contact: Sales Manager, Erin Schoenberg, for orders or questions.

Feature image: L-R: Erin Schoenberg (sales), Chris Schoenberg (sales/delivery), Ginger Muhlbach (bookkeeping), Mark Roh (owner), Ben Gotschall (owner), Justin Jones (owner). Photo by Lone Tree Foods