Two seatings -
Mon. thru Fri. - 4 and 5 pm
at New Milford Hospital
Call 860-210-5011 for reservations.

Know your farmer

Our Local Farms: Food is Medicine
Think about the origin of the term "Plow to Plate," New Milford Hospital's sustainable foods dining program. Implied in the name is a direct relationship in which the food consumed goes from the farm field to the dinner plate, with no middlemen in between other than gifted chefs.
Local, chemical-free and sustainable, this truly wholesome system is both healthy and medicinal for those who are ailing. But the program is about more than treating and feeding the sick; it's also about raising awareness and support for public health.
Several local farmers contract with the New Milford Hospital to supply the program. Among them are Maywood Estate in Bridgewater, Sullivan Farm in New Milford and Marble Valley Farm in Kent. A regional dairy cooperative, Farmers Cow, supplies dairy products and Harney Teas the selection of fine teas that are offered.
"We provide wholesome, homegrown food that is .... better for the healing process," said Greg Bollard, the general manager of Maywood Estate. "We literally pick the day, or the day before, we get the product to them. The freshness, quality and good chain of custody, you can't match that any other way."

Maywood Estate produces a wide variety of vegetables and herbs for the hospital. Greg Bollard, Farm Manager is happy to know that many of his specialty herbs have been used in hospital soups and teas, like the nettle soup or the basil tea.
Megan Haney, owner of Marble Valley Farm in Kent, has a small three-acre operation, so she could provide little more, at first,  than her sugar snap peas, 70 pounds worth in the 2010 season. She says her product is a mere "drop in the bucket," but is happy to help the patients, and the hospital, in this noble endeavor. With expansion of her working lands in 2011, the hospital hopes to see more of her glorious vegetables.   "I think the hospital will benefit from this, and it'll be one more reason people will choose to come back to New Milford Hospital," she noted. "If patients were eating pasty, gray mush from a can, they probably aren't going to be impressed." In 2011, Megan provided lettuces and an array of vegetables as her farm expands operations
When asked what he thinks natural food means to a person on the mend, or anybody looking to improve their general health, Mark Mankin of Sullivan Farm  and New Milford Youth Agency sees a correlation between organic produce and sound health, mind and body.  

"I hear there is a dramatic improvement in quality of care, and there's a psychological advantage to local and naturally grown fruits and vegetables," said Mr. Mankin, who believes the taste of his herbs and vegetables are more "vibrant and flavorful" than that of processed food. "People take comfort in driving by where food was grown, being able to track its growth in the summer. That's important to people."  In 2011, additional farms will join in supplying the hospital, a much needed increase in supply because the hospital café has become "the place to go" for lunch and dinner for many local residents.
Coming Attractions:
Farmers Cow (Dairy Coop)-Robin Chessmer
Fort Hill Farm-Paul Bucciaglia
Joan Larned, Kent, CT
March Farm