The culinary experience at Maplewood Senior Living is one that will leave your taste buds craving more. Through partnerships with local farms, and our own farm in Easton, Connecticut, we’re able to provide fresh seasonal produce that our chefs use to create delicious meals morning, noon and night. Because of this, our residents enjoy the vibrant tastes of each season and reap the long list of health benefits that come from eating freshly harvested fruits and vegetable.
We sat down with Mary Ellen Greenfield, Corporate Director of Culinary Services, to learn more about the benefits of utilizing fresh, locally sourced ingredients and here is what we learned.
Aside from supporting the local economy, sourcing our foods locally allows for produce to arrive at our communities shortly after being harvested. There are a couple of health benefits that come from reducing transport time. The first is a lowered risk of contamination. As food moves across states or changes hands, the possibility of bacteria exposure increases.
Additionally, the more time that passes between the food being collected and being eaten, the more fruits and vegetables lose valuable nutrients. The best time to eat food is right after it’s picked, when the nutritional value is highest. For that reason, transporting food locally, as opposed to across multiple states, can significantly improve the nutritional value to the consumer.
Fresh produce also taste better, which is important for our residents. Appetites often decrease with age, and yet the need for nutrient-rich food remains. We want to provide the best-tasting dishes that our residents are excited to try. With fresh, tasty ingredients, we can offer delicious options, even for residents with Alzheimer’s or dementia, who may have limited ability to eat a three-course meal.
At Maplewood, our connection to farms, including our own, means we utilize fresh foods that grow naturally for the season. Flavors are richer and nutrient levels are at their highest. This close connection to the supply allows our culinary team to design recipes around the freshest ingredients.
An example of these unique recipes is shared below from Giovanni Dillard, Chef at Maplewood at Strawberry Hill. This particular summer kale and carrot salad recipe utilizes kale grown at our Maplewood farm in Easton, Connecticut and is favorite among residents.
Kale and Carrot Salad
1lb Purple kale
1lb Green kale
2c Golden raisins
4c Shredded carrot
2c Light mayonnaise
2tsp Garlic powder
2tsp Apple cider vinegar
Chop kale into bit size pieces. Toss shredded carrot, golden raisins, and kale with light mayo.
Lastly season with garlic powder and apple cider vinegar.
Refrigerate till ready to use to let flavors combine.
Download Recipe: Kale and Carrot Salad Recipe
The commitment to fresh and local initiative is one that’s growing. And it led Maplewood to purchase the working farm to supply to its local communities. Along with the University of Connecticut’s College and Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources, we’re working to create a master plan that will allow us to expand access to locally farmed ingredients.
From the health benefits of fresh foods to the importance they play in our resident’s culinary experience, we believe in sourcing foods locally. To see more, scroll through the photos below taken from our Maplewood Farm in Easton, Connecticut.
Still not convinced? Everyone loves a “Top 10” List. Enjoy this one from Sustainable Capitol Hill:
Top 10 Benefits Of Eating Local, Seasonal, Organic Food
- Supporting local farmers & local food diversity will be increasingly important in an economic crisis, as energy prices rise and as our climate continues to change.
- Eating local food also allows you to have more power as a consumer to monitor where your food comes from, and how it is grown and raised.
- If you eat seasonally, you will reduce the amount of energy used to store your food.
- If you eat organically, you will reduce the amount of energy, pesticides, and herbicides used in growing your food. This has benefits for your health as well as the climate, our food and water supplies, and the natural environment.
- If you eat locally, you will reduce the amount of energy it takes to transport your food.
- The flavors and nutrients of local and seasonal food are generally much richer and more complex.Which has health benefits, and also just makes eating much more pleasurable!
- If you grow your own or you purchase from local farmers, you may discover many varieties of different vegetables and fruits you’ve never heard of.
- When you buy from local farmers and grocers,your money remains within our local economy. Generally, your money will remain within our local economy much longer as it passes from that farmer to the local hardware store or the local feed store, and beyond.
- A relationship with local food producers and sellers makes your family more resilient and adaptable in an economic crisis.
- Buying from local people encourages important personal connections within our community. We can learn so much about our local region, by searching for local food providers. What joy it is to talk with a local farmer about her particular variety of greens, to learn from another farmer about a new way to protect your tomatoes during heavy rains.
To experience one of our favorite recipes yourself, click on the link to make the Kale and Carrot Salad from Chef Dillard. And to learn more about our commitment to health and wellness, visit www.maplewoodseniorliving.com.