The U.S. Department of Agriculture plans to buy as much as $2.7 million worth of fresh tomatoes.


The tomatoes will be used in federal nutrition assistance programs, according to a news release.


Tom Vilsack, secretary of the USDA, announced the purchase June 8. The department’s Agricultural Marketing Service is responsible for the purchases.


The USDA added a fresh-cut apple purchase pilot program this year, and may also start purchasing baby peeled carrots as part of a pilot program.


The apple purchases amounted to $4.1 million, said Jimmie Turner, spokesman for the Agricultural Marketing Service.


The federal nutrition assistance programs include the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, the Summer Food Service Program, the Food Distribution Program on Indian Researvations, the Commodity Supplemental Food Program and the Emergency Food Assistance Program, according to the release.