Blueberries, a rainbow of peppers, fresh tomatoes. These are just some of the fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables residents at Providence Benedictine Nursing Center find on the menu, through the Farm to Table program.
Farms surround Mt. Angel: from cauliflower and cabbage fields to apple groves and blueberry patches. But most are large and don’t have a way to deliver the relatively small amounts Providence Benedictine needs. Dietitian Cheryl Havens connected with a Community Supported Agriculture vendor just down the road to have fresh produce delivered.
Cheryl will sometimes pick up food from the large farms to fill in any gaps in the menu. “Our regular food vendor doesn’t always have the variety of fresh foods like what we can get from the local farms, since most of the produce comes from Mexico,” she explained.
Residents love the fresh food. A majority of them are from the local community and bought fruit and vegetables from these same farms.
“It connects the farmers with us, too,” said Cheryl. “It allows them to see what we do and why we do it. We take pride in serving delicious and fresh foods to our residents. A lot of the farmers have family members who have lived here.”
Green beans, beets and garden-grown tomatoes are some of the favorites when they appear as options on the menu. These are fresh foods that Cheryl can’t get from our food vendor.
“It connects the farmers with us, too.”