October 7, 2015
Contact: Maureen Pearson, director of Communications
Eating locally is a common phrase in the agricultural heavy Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, but for Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community, eating locally took on an entirely new meaning this summer.
The continuing care retirement community cultivated 1 ½ acres of land from its nearby farm for food production. The Farm at Willow Run owned and operated by VMRC began the growing season with an anticipated production yield goal of $24,000.
“Knowing where your food comes from is important, and the nutritional value of fresh produce grown nearby is excellent,” said Eric Phipps, executive chef at VMRC.
Growers used untreated and organic seeds and plants in planting as much as possible, and with the farm just minutes from the retirement community, shipping and delivery were kept to a minimum.
Produce was integrated by Dining Services into soups, salad bars, side dishes, and desserts with excess sold at produce table.
“The feedback from the Heirloom tomato bisque and butternut squash pie was amazing,” said Phipps, who designed the menus to accommodate the garden produce.
Farm fresh produce also was utilized in assisted living activities of bean snapping and zucchini bread baking.
“The farm made good sense for VMRC as we identified ways to help people live a healthier lifestyle,” said Judith Trumbo, president and CEO.
Nearly 750 residents live at VMRC which also is home to Virginia’s only Green House community – Woodland Park.