"Farm To Table At Morning Pointe" Puts Local Food On Residents' Plates

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Morning Pointe Senior Living announced its new latest initiative aimed at making mealtime memorable for residents through locally-grown, farm-fresh vegetables and fruits. The new dining services program will emphasize regionally grown produce for Morning Pointe communities through partnerships with farmers near Chattanooga, Knoxville and Nashville, and Lexington, Ky.

Morning Pointe has formed a partnership with Chattanooga-based Crabtree Farms, which focuses on sustainable farming and agricultural education.

“We are proud to not only offer delicious and nutritious meals, but also local ingredients that reminds our seniors of life on the farm or homestead,” said Mike Woods, corporate dining director at Morning Pointe.

From late Summer through mid-Fall, food services directors will order in-season local produce to be put on every plate, incorporating the ingredients throughout the day’s meals as well as the “always available” menu.

“Every plate could have a locally grown product,” Mr. Woods said. “Through this program, we can easily serve 20 to 30 percent of our menu with ingredients from local farms.”

Morning Pointe has been building relationships with local farmers and growers for several years to implement the new program in its 28 senior living locations.

“We are proud to announce this initiative that brings the dining experience closer to home for our residents, while planting the seed to grow new partnerships in the communities we serve,” said Greg A. Vital, president and CEO of Morning Pointe. “From preparation to presentation, our dining services program prepares each dish with foods that are both flavorful and healthy – and now locally grown – to ensure mealtime is something our seniors continue to enjoy.”

Morning Pointe’s food service directors were prepped for the new initiative with a daylong educational seminar in Knoxville, led by Jen Russomanno, co-owner and operator of 2 Chicks and a Farm and Garden Delivery CSA.

The Jefferson County-based farm, which specializes in organic, naturally grown produce, has partnered with Morning Pointe’s assisted living and memory care communities in the Knoxville area. Russomanno says that buying local is especially beneficial for seniors.­

“For our seniors, many times, they are suffering from chronic illness, or have weakened immune systems,” Ms. Russomanno said. “Feeding them fresh, local, chemical-free food will contribute positively to their health and long-term wellbeing.”

According to the USDA, consuming fresh fruits and vegetables are beneficial to both shoppers and farmers, not only because the food is higher in nutrient and antioxidant value, but also because buying fresh, in-season produce boasts economic benefits by keeping dollars local. But the notion to eat locally is nothing new to the seniors, who tended to gardens and grew fruits and vegetables of their own.

Bruce Fisher, senior food services director at Morning Pointe of Lexington-East (KY), says the residents at his community are given opportunities to assist with the preparation of their meals, from snapping beans to shucking corn.

“Mealtime to this generation is still an event,” Mr. Fisher said, recalling his own Southern family traditions. “It’s a social hour. If you were hungry or not, you were at that dinner table.”

Dining services is a part of The Lantern at Morning Pointe’s purposeful programming, and Mr. Fisher and Woods agree that fresh food is effective in recalling the seniors’ positive life experiences.

“Food can be a very powerful tool to stimulate past memories,” Mr. Fisher said. “If you cook something and they remember something like, ‘My wife used to cook chicken and dumplings,’ it’s just like that. It goes back to the Meaningful Day™ where you cooking food that our residents used to eat, and prepare it the way they used to prepare it.”

The farm to table initiative is currently in place, and will be a model for Morning Pointe’s new senior campuses moving forward.

“With this program, we’re going back to our roots,” said Mr. Vital. “We want to show importance to our residents traditions and values by bringing this wholesome dining experience to the table.”


The Cheesecake Factory Now Hiring For New Chattanooga Location

The Cheesecake Factory, named to the FORTUNE “100 Best Companies to Work For” list for five consecutive years, is opening a new location in Chattanooga this December, and is looking to hire 270 staff members to join the team. Hospitality-minded individuals who take pride in their work and thrive in an energetic, fun environment are encouraged to apply online now for positions ... (click for more)

3 Restaurants Get Beer Permits From City Beer Board

Three restaurants were given permits to sell beer by the City Beer Board on Thursday.   Pizza Brothers, 501 Cherokee Blvd., will serve beer to go along with New York style pizza. Davis Wayne’s, 9454 Bradmore Lane, Suite #100, is a new “meat and three,” said owner Antonia Poland. She said food will be good, healthy and made from scratch. There also will be a full ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Red Wolves SC To Build Soccer-Specific Stadium For 2020 Season

Chattanooga Red Wolves Soccer Club is building a state-of-the-art, soccer-specific facility, where the team will host home games beginning in 2020. For its inaugural season, the club will play at Chattanooga Christian School’s David Stanton Field in 2019.   David Stanton Field seats 3,500, and the club plans to install additional temporary seating allowing up to approximately ... (click for more)

Case Against Soddy Daisy High ROTC Instructor Dismissed After Judge Sends Case To Grand Jury

The road rage case against a Soddy Daisy ROTC instructor was dismissed on Wednesday after a judge on Monday had sent the case to the Grand Jury. An order was issued on Wednesday signed by District Attorney Neal Pinkston and attorney Lee Davis that "no billed" the aggravated assault charge against 47-year-old Timothy Lee Hodges. Attorney Davis said, " Following a hearing in ... (click for more)

Drink Up, Chattanooga

I attended the meeting to discuss the placement of the sewage treatment plant at the Cambridge Center in Ooltewah today. My problem with the meeting (aka) dog and pony show, is that the meeting started out with the agenda of the Ooltewah Community Council.  After living in this area for 45+ years I have never heard of this group.  I would like for someone to answer ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Dear Faux Pelini

It has been my experience that of all the tribes and herds of different people on earth, sports writers are among the funniest people of all. Oh, there isn’t anything real sexy about Villanova beating Georgetown or a baseball player hitting for the cycle. Now, if a player hits a single, double, triple and homer in that order, that’s “a natural cycle,” and that is kind of fun to ... (click for more)