October 1-8, 2012, is National Healthcare Food Service Week, a time to thank the dedicated professionals who provide delicious meals and exceptional service in health care settings every day. At West Shore Medical Center, the Nutrition Services Team plays an integral role in health care by providing healthful meals that are also pleasing to the palate.
As part of its commitment to helping improve the health of the community, West Shore Medical Center’s Nutrition Services Department is partnering with the Manistee Community Kitchen to provide meals made with fresh, locally grown produce. “We are buying local produce for our kitchen as much as possible,” said Nutrition Services Manager Courtney Baldwin. “We’ve always made an effort to include healthy options on our menus, and using the local produce helps ensure we’re getting the freshest, healthiest food possible. That we’re supporting our area’s growers is a plus.”
West Shore started talking with the Manistee Community Kitchen’s Brandon Seng last year. “We loved what Brandon was doing in the community, promoting healthy eating while helping feed the hungry and encouraging growing and buying locally,” said Baldwin. “It was a natural fit for West Shore to be a part of that.” The hospital’s efforts have been applauded by patients, visitors, and staff. “Diners notice the difference and appreciate the philosophy. And they sure enjoy the food!”
As a result of this collaboration, West Shore’s meals are more seasonally focused. “We’ve had a number of terrific asparagus dishes, and we recently ran several specials that included local berries,” explained Baldwin, “Now we’re getting into the late summer root vegetables. Our cooks have been inspired by having local goods to work with.” The use of local produce doesn’t end when the growing season is over. Chef Al Frye from the Manistee Community Kitchen has taught West Shore’s Nutrition Services staff how to freeze produce properly so that it can be used in the kitchen even when the season is over.
This is not your stereotypical hospital food. Recent offerings have included asparagus and mushroom risotto, berry and poppy seed chicken salad, and shrimp and vegetable tortellini. Baldwin invites the public to stop in for a meal. “Some people think of us only when they’re having a procedure or visiting a loved one, but we’d like to be considered another restaurant option,” she said. “We introduce items several days a week, so there’s always something new to try.”
The Café is open from 6:30 a.m. until 6:15 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 6:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. on weekends. Hot meal service is available for breakfast from 6:30 a.m. until 10 a.m. daily, for lunch from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. daily, and for dinner from 4:30 until 6:15 p.m. Monday through Friday. Offerings include homemade soups, fresh salad bar, grilling station, and desserts. A “grab and go” station with packaged salads, sandwiches, and desserts is also available.