ROGERS PARK — Susan Taylor is known around the halls of Sullivan High School as "The Apple Lady."
"Best apples ever," said 17-year-old senior Christian Lloyd, as he munched on a slice of fruit. "She sells the best."
Taylor, founder of The Good Food Project, has been hauling hundreds of pounds of farm-fresh apples to Sullivan for the past four years.
On Thursday, she had 560 pounds of apples from K&K Farms in Coloma, Mich., in tow.
The apples are washed, sorted and then sold by mentally disabled students in a monthly market inside Sullivan. The sales make a profit, which is then spent on other programming in the school's special education department.
"Who would want a Dunkin' donut when you could get an apple?" said Taylor, a food writer and healthy food advocate.
Not only do the apple markets bring fresh fruit into Sullivan, but they also help developmentally disabled students learn important life skills.
"It's always about functional skills, vocational skills, independent living," said special education teacher Ben Hofmann of the program.
The students count money and create receipts detailing each transaction. Some of the lower-functioning students pass out samples to students in between class periods.
And now Taylor wants to expand the program to more Chicago schools.
She partnered with nonprofit Arquitectos, a consortium of Chicago architects, and developed a competition to design a fully functional fruit stand to be used at Sullivan's markets. The winning design is awarded $500.
Taylor said the winning stand could be branded, duplicated and set up in school's citywide, bringing her apples to the masses.
"We hope this will catch on," she said.