MOUNT JACKSON – Bowman Andros on Thursday allowed third-grade students and teachers from W.W. Robinson Elementary School into the plant to learn about what the company does.
It is a departure for the business facility that is usually closed to the public.
Bowman Andros has also recently allowed an older group of students in to learn about the facility, said CEO Christophe Peter.
“We are a French-owned corporation. Typically, in the United States companies are more involved in communities. We are adapting,” Peter said.
Andros has 30 factories around the world and is globally known for its industrial capabilities in fruit processing, frozen desserts and confectionery.
The Mount Jackson facility specializes in processing 4-ounce cups of applesauce, pouches of applesauce, and jars of applesauce.
Employees set up stations in the plant Thursday and students rotated through each to learn about the difference between human resources, capital resources, and natural resources.
They were also there to learn about how what Bowman Andros does is related to economics.
“We decided to come because students don’t have an understanding of consumers and producers. They think Walmart produces things. We wanted to give them experience with a producer who is a local business,” said W.W. Robinson third grade teacher Nicole Ritchie.
It also ties in with an economics class the students will have. They learned about the logistics of transporting raw material to the company and then out to customers. They watched a video about shipping and trucking while answering questions from Bowman Andros employees, such as what type of resources were they looking at - capital, human or natural?
Students also stopped at the Apples 101 station.
Bowman Andros uses 112 million apples a year, employees there said.
The students were able to answer that apples would be considered a natural resource.
They learned about logistics and how they are transported from all over the United States to the plant in Mount Jackson, and they were able to taste slices of many varieties of apples; Red and Golden Delicious, Northern Spy, Pink Lady and others.
Josh Peck Jr., 9, was eager to try them.
“We get Red Delicious,” he said.
The students rotated to a makeshift production line to see how fast they could package different samples of applesauce, which was part of the lesson about human resources.
They learned that a major part of working on the production line is about employee safety and health regulations, such as using hair nets.
Bowman Andros employees finished the students' tour at the Innovation Station. It was there that employees talked about research and development, which comes up with, and then tests, new products to determine if they will be produced and sold.
The students were given a small cup of applesauce, and then told they could decide if they wanted to use ingredients to make Twisted Tropical applesauce, a Very Berry applesauce or the Strawberry Lemonade applesauce.
Most students choose to make the Strawberry Lemonade applesauce. They had a choice of making it sweet by adding sugar, or tart.
Hunter Lowe was one of the students making the Strawberry Lemonade applesauce. He decided to go a little more sour than sweet and gave a thumbs-up to the taste.
However, Makenzie Kibler, 9, of Woodstock, who also chose to go with the tart taste, had a different reaction.
“I should have gone sweet,” she said.
The two students, with their applesauce recipe in hand, agreed they had a good day learning some things.
“I learned about ships and trucks,” Hunter said.
Makenzie added: “I learned how to make apple sauce.”