RiverWoods strives for a healther menu

Stout Oak Farm, co-owned by Seacoast Eat Local board member Kate Donald, is working with RIverWoods in Exeter to put local, organic food on their tables. From SeacoastOnline:

Two local businesses have recently come together to pursue a unified goal of promoting a healthier lifestyle and a sense of community.

For the past month, RiverWoods at Exeter, a non-profit retirement community, has begun working with Stout Oak Farm in Brentwood, using their certified organic crops in the kitchens of all three of their campuses.

The idea was originally presented by Charlie Kelsey, RiverWood’s vice president of resident life, who wanted to update the menu based on residents’ desires to have more local and organic products on their menu.

“We are trying to move entirely away from the utilization of convenient food products,” Kelsey said. “The more nutritious we can make our food, the more advanced we can make the well-being and lives of our residents.”

The farm recently provided the kitchens with their first orders of the season, which included products such as kale, salad mix, pea tendrils, Asian salad turnips, and radishes.

“I can certainly say it’s head and shoulders above anything you can get from a larger purveyor,” said Guy Lamond, kitchen manager of the Boulder’s campus. “It was a really good, clean product and the quality was great.”

With over 25,000 meals served each month, Kelsey said the farm is more than able to meet the needs of the kitchens.

“We grow a lot of food that maybe a place that’s not always cooking from scratch might find hard to use,” said Kate Donald, one of the owners of Stout Oak. “But they’ve basically taken everything we have to offer, which is really awesome.”

Since first being established, the relationship has evolved to include more than just business.

Residents have reached out to the farm themselves in attempts to better know the provider of their food.

“A whole bunch of residents have come out and said how much they enjoy our products,” Donald said. “That’s what it’s all about.”

Residents were also invited to help out with the farm’s “Weeding Wednesday,” where participants help to clean up the fields and create a closer relationship to the farm itself.

“It’s great for anyone who wants to see more of the farm and be part of the growing process,” Donald said. Read more…

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