As part of our holistic approach to senior living, we offer a Signature Dining program for our seniors. This program includes farm-to-table made possible by our fully sustainable garden areas. As summer comes to a close and cookouts continue to commence, here are some of the benefits our seniors get to enjoy by incorporating freshly grown ingredients in our dining program.
First and foremost, locally grown food simply tastes better. Growing fruits and vegetables ourselves allow us to ensure there are no added preservatives or chemicals to the food that would not only create health concerns but also take that fresh flavor out of the food. According to a study done by Michigan State University, “When grown locally, the crops are picked at their peak of ripeness versus being harvested early in order to be shipped and distributed to your local retail store.” Vegetables bought from a store simply cannot compete with the vegetables you bring right from the farm to the table.
Fewer Health Concerns and Less of a Carbon Footprint
Not only do locally grown ingredients allow us to ensure the health and safety of our seniors, but they also allow us to help the environment. Knowing that you are eating the best and most fresh quality of products gives our seniors peace of mind as they enjoy their meal regardless of virtually any preexisting health conditions. Additionally, our Signature Dining philosophy allows us to be environmentally friendly in our food policies. The University of Washington notes that, “Less distance between your food’s source and your kitchen table leaves less of a chance of contamination. Some foods are shipped literally thousands of miles; that is a big carbon footprint that could be avoided by (choosing) local and seasonal foods.”
A Booming Garden is a Beautiful Sight to See
Not only do our gardens encourage a sense of community among our seniors, but they also provide our locations a beautiful visual aspect that they can take pride in. Additionally, many of our seniors had gardens growing up or in their younger years so it offers them a great sense of purpose that is familiar to them. Nationwide discussed the benefits of growing a garden by saying, “A vegetable and fruit garden can add life, color and beauty to your backyard. The smell of ripening strawberries and the sight of crisp cucumbers are a warm invitation to people and pollinators alike. Plus, the insects they attract will likely pollinate other plants as well, making your whole garden grow faster.”
It Gives Our Residents a Choice in What They Eat
Most importantly, by growing our own fresh ingredients, our residents are able to have a say in what they would like to be in the garden. For example, if they want to have a dish that calls for a particular vegetable or fruit, we are able to accommodate that need by simply planting a new seed in the garden. Our Corporate Chef, Mabel Prado, discussed our policy on Signature Dining by stating, “Our vision is to provide the best tasting and highest quality meals for our residents incorporating the freshest ingredients that we grow organically in our own backyard.”