THUNDER BAY – Health – Thunder Bay has endured a bitterly long and cold winter, but that doesn’t mean our local farmers are taking any time off. They still provide an abundance of products year round. Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC) is making the most of that availability this month by showcasing local farmers’ products in the cafeteria through their ‘Made Fresh, Made Local’ events that promote local, healthy eating.
March is Nutrition Month, and in order to celebrate, TBRHSC is partnering up their Registered Dietitians with local farmers to serve samples of locally grown food to staff, patients, and visitors. “This partnership is a great opportunity to spread knowledge about healthy and local eating, simple cooking tips, and to provide some inspiration for individuals hoping to test their green thumb on a small scale at home this year. As an added bonus, Flavours, TBRHSC’s Cafeteria, is selling a full serving of the samples to anybody who wants more,“ says Cathy Sawicki, Cafeteria and Catering Supervisor at TBHRSC.
On March 12, Jeff Burke, Brule Creek Farms, and Ashley Colville, Registered Dietitian from Centre for Complex Diabetes Care at TBRHSC, paired up to serve two delicious types of pizza – both on whole wheat crust. Brule Creek Farms, which supplied the whole wheat pizza crust, specialize in stone milled flour and have an assortment of flours available plus a variety of baking and cooking mixes.
“By sourcing local ingredients, consumers are supporting smaller family farms and choosing to eat less processed foods. We really enjoy the opportunity to connect with our customers and showcase our farm when we come to TBRHSC,” says Burke.
On March 19, TBRHSC welcomed Kuchta Honey Farm to serve a tossed salad with a honey and apple cider vinaigrette dressing. Katie Amadeo, Registered Dietitian, joined Lois and Rudy Kuchta in serving the salad and small samples of pure, local honey.
March 26 is the last ‘Made Fresh, Made Local’ event and will feature Brule Creek’s scones and bran muffins with local jam from Belluz Farms.
Local products for ‘Made Fresh, Made Local’ were ordered from Superior Seasons, a website that offers a local food ordering service. Superior Seasons is unique in that it offers food and products from multiple local farms and businesses, coordinates these into one order for a simple pick up or delivery. Superior Seasons runs year round and is available to individuals and businesses. Flavours orders from Superior Seasons, and is working to incorporate more local produce and products into the cafeteria’s menu.
These farmers are not strangers to TBHRSC. They visit the hospital weekly in the summer months to sell their products at TBRHSC’s Fresh Market, a farmer’s market for staff, patients and visitors. This year, TBRHSC will host the Fresh Market every Wednesday for four months, starting June 25th.
While Nutrition Month puts a strong focus on eating healthy in March, it is important to carry this trend throughout the year. “Every year, dietitians use the month of March to promote healthy eating and the importance that nutrition has on our well-being. This is a message we hope will last all year long. Making daily healthy nutrition choices decreases the risk of chronic disease, helps manage them, maintains a healthy body weight, and provides high quality energy to fuel our day to day activities,” says Colville.
Canada’s Food Guide is a great resource to reference to make sure you and your family are eating balanced meals with accurate portion sizes. It also contains helpful tips to incorporate healthy eating into your daily routine. EatRight Ontario is another resource where individuals can call a Registered Dietitian to get answers to nutrition questions for free. The toll free number is 1-877-510-5102 or visit eatrightontario.ca.