A vegetable garden at Winneshiek Medical Center has already produced over 1,200 pounds of vegetables for the hospital's food service department this summer.
Director of Nutrition Services Joetta Redlin says the garden has produced lettuce, kale, swiss chard, squash, tomatoes, beets, peppers, zucchini, winter squash, beans--you name it. The produce gets harvested and then turned into meals served at the hospital cafeteria.
Redlin says the program "has made a big difference," saving money for the hospital and allowing hospital staff to enjoy dishes made from the fresh vegetables.
Redlin works with David Cavagnaro from The Pepperfield Project on the garden. She praises Cavagnaro as being "wonderful to work with."
Using fresh produce at the hospital was "tricy at first," admits Redlin, since the staff had to learn what amount of vegetables would be available. But unlike private gardens, which sometimes swamp homeowners with too much zucchini or too many tomatoes, the hospital garden feeds hundreds of people, so Redlin's staff had to resort to making zucchini bread only once.
Redlin says the hospital supplements the fresh vegetables with vegetables from its usual food service suppliers.
The large vegetable garden is beginning to wind down as fall approaches, but, in the meantime, it is still producing plenty of supplies for salads and side dishes.