Release Date: 7/20/2010
Mini farmers market open for business at medical center
Loretta Owen, left, and Sara Gonzales, employees in the Nutrition Services department at St. Anthony's Medical Center, arrange produce at the new farmers market that opened for business recently in the hospital's cafeteria. The market features fresh fruits and vegetables from area farmers.
Eating healthier just got a lot more convenient for employees and visitors at St. Anthony’s Medical Center, where a mini farmers market recently opened for business.
On a small “truck” stand set up near the atrium in the hospital cafeteria are the produce picks of summer’s bounty. St. Anthony’s Farmers Market launched in mid-July, and will continue throughout the summer.
“Our vision began with the altruistic purpose to support good nutrition, our local farmers and the economy, and the environment,” said Linda Seffens, R.D., L.D., director of Nutrition Services at St. Anthony’s. “Unhealthy diets and the lack of readily accessible fresh fruits and vegetables adversely affect the health of many. True to our health mission, we are in a unique position to treat both medical nutrition therapy concerns and address their root causes.”
A year in the making, the effort is a joint project between St. Anthony’s, local farmers and the medical center’s distributor, U.S. Foodservice. The farmers provide the items to U.S. Foodservice, which then supplies the items to St. Anthony’s. Some of the local farmers include Flamm Orchards of Cobden, Ill.; Stuckmeyer Plants and Produce of Waterloo, Ill.; Ralph Stuckmeyer, Inc. of Fenton, Mo.; Theis Farms of Creve Coeur, Mo.; Relleke Farms of Granite City, Ill.; and Brumleve Farms of Cobden, Ill.
Foods sold locally are able to ripen in the field and be harvested days before being sold, so fruits and vegetables achieve peak ripeness on the vine or tree, and develop full flavor. Conventionally grown and packaged foods may be picked unripe, which can affect the flavor.
“Typically speaking, farmers markets are held outdoors, and we just decided to bring the market indoors to our patrons, where we could offer local farm produce to both our employees and visitors,” Seffens said. “It has been very well received, and several people have purchased items to take home with them: we’ve sold out of watermelon, and cantaloupe was a big hit. We’ll continue to offer it as long as we can continue to get locally grown items.”
The agriculture peaks at various times of the season, she noted. People should stop by frequently to see what’s available: the selection of items could change from day to day.
“Initially we will begin by offering homegrown items and continue to expand use of the locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables to make more homemade items that can be incorporated into our patient, retail and catering menus,” Seffens said. “Our chefs and skilled culinary artisans have plans for such items as signature recipe sauces to complement pasta, gourmet soup, veggie-style salads and savory cobblers. We invite all staff and visitors to stop in and shop.”
For information, please call our Health Access Line at 314-ANTHONY (268-4669) or 800-554-9550 or visit find a physician online.
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