Riverwood serves farm fresh meal

Nikki Eklund & Tara Dandrea heat the roasted turkey

Nikki Eklund & Tara Dandrea heat the roasted turkey

RHCC's Rehab team helped cut up carrots

RHCC’s Rehab team helped cut up carrots

Smells of roasting turkey tempted the taste buds of many employees at Riverwood Healthcare Center on Oct. 27. The second in a series of monthly meals in the Farm2Riverwood program for patients, and employees and visitors who dine in the hospital cafeteria, featured a menu of locally grown and produced fresh food.

Turkeys came from John and Tanya Grimsbo of their farm in Palisade, potatoes from Roger & Markell Vogt of the Gun Lake Potato Farm; carrots from Lynn Sue Mizner of  the Chengwatana Farm, rolls from Erik Heimark and Jay Meagher of the Maple Ridge Farm, and 200 apples from David Gilbertson of Gilby’s Orchard.

Diana Rian served the delicious roast turkey meal

Diana Rian served the delicious roast turkey meal

Preparations began on Mon., Oct. 24, with the roasting of four 19-pound turkeys. On Wed., Riverwood’s rehabilitation team helped peel and cut up 60 pounds of potatoes and 50 pounds of carrots. By the time lunch was served on Thurs., Oct. 27, a lot of employees were excited about eating roast turkey with all the fixings—one month before Thanksgiving.

Farm2Riverwood is a new program designed to support improved health and nutrition. Once a month over the next year, Riverwood’s Food Service team will prepare a meal with fresh local foods. Other local farmers who will provide food for Riverwood are Michelle Pagan of the Mighty Mini Farm, Steve & Jodi Olson of Ole’s Acres, and Jane Grimsbo-Jewett of the Willowsedge Farm.

“This is a great opportunity for Riverwood to tap local food for delicious, nutritious meals with all fresh ingredients to support the health and wellness of our patients and staff,” said Lou Ann Carlson, Riverwood Food Services manager. “We would like to thank the local farmers, Healthy Northland (Statewide Health Improvement Program) and the Aitkin County Health and Human Services Public Health Unit for making the program possible.”

Hill City School and Rippleside School in Aitkin are also participating in the local food initiative via the Farm2School program.