Do your residents ask for fresh fruits and vegetables?

This time of year when seeds are planted in freshly tilled soil excitement blossoms in the air. The promise of fresh vegetables growing and ready to harvest before we know it is an exciting part of satisfying residents in your community. This brings me to think of the Farm-to-Table programs I’ve seen in senior living communities. The concept has grown more popular each year. The chef who knows to buy fresh at the peak of the season benefits the community, according to the USDA, by serving residents when the food is higher in nutrients and antioxidant value, and the company, because in-season produce offers economic benefits by keeping sales local and costs down. Today’s residents expect seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables on the table, cooked perfectly, and seasoned to enhance their taste to the fullest.

Incorporating a seasonal Farm-to-Table program into your food service announces the respect and awareness you have for your local growers and community diners, setting the goal- the quality of life for your residents. They want to exhibit pride when family and guests are invited to join them at mealtime. It is about family building a trusted relationship with your chef, kitchen and serving staff.  That trusted relationship extends out to regional farmers or produce managers.

Encourage your chef to take the initiative in making mealtimes memorable by offering chemical-free food to enhance their health and long term well-being. I’ve talked with a number of residents who share their farming stories and are outspoken in their preference to get vitamins from their food rather than from over-the-counter bottles of artificially made vitamin supplements.

This latest generation of residents have put pre-made, high sodium and saturated fat foods, canned fruits, and vegetables in their old-time memory book. They want quality food served at its best to whet their appetites that will build stronger bodies. This is where your food service team can make a difference with their knowledge bringing a fresher menu to the dining room. Community kitchens that establish a Farm-to-Table schedule now will be far ahead of demands that continue with the influx of so many baby boomers into retirement communities.

Our B Kind® Tip: Build relationships one meal at a time.

About Cindy Heilman

Cindy Heilman MS, DTR: Cindy Heilman has over 25 years of experience in enhancing hospitality, and food service standards. She is the CEO of her own company, Higher Standards LLC, and creator of Kind Dining® Training. Her unique background in restaurant ownership, in hospitality and healthcare food service, in working as a Dietetic Technician Registered and Healthcare Specialist at SYSCO Foodservices, led her to the development of her exclusive program that improves relationships and lives of aging residents through the dining experience.

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