MIAMI – It may seem an unlikely pairing of local mushroom grower JM Farms and the Miami High School Band, but it has proven to be a success.

Each year, the MHS band raises funds through what has become a tradition for many, by selling “band fruit.”

In previous years, MHS Band Director, Toye Harris sourced the fruit through an out-of-state third party, the kids took orders, the fruit was delivered, and funds were raised.

However, one parent made an offer they couldn't refuse. The (then) band parent, Pat Jurgensmeyer and Harris, devised a plan to help take this mainstay fundraiser to the next level. Because Jurgensmeyer and his family own and operate JM Farms, he proposed they work together to try and reduce costs. By offering to donate its services to source quality fruit as well as carefully prepare it for delivery, the cost of the middle-man was eliminated, thereby making profits greater.

Packaging featuring the Miami Wardog logo was designed especially for the fruit sale and several of the available items were hand-packaged by the band students themselves - including a card in each box with the signatures of those who helped.

The assembly of the final product gave the students not only a lesson in properly preparing their deliveries but the importance of a personal touch. With the first “revised” fundraiser successfully behind them, JM Farms and MHS plan to partner again next holiday season.