St. Luke’s Hospital takes advantage of new organic farm

The hospital is the first in Pennsylvania to start a garden on campus.

CAMP HILL, Pa.—Executive chef Paul Meola suggests a few options on his weekly lunch menu in the cafeteria at St. Luke's Hospital in Easton: vegetarian fried rice, hot pot soup, and lasagna.

Sounds good.

Even better: All the squash, broccoli, peppers, chard, and kale the chef roasts and sautes for these dishes comes from a new organic farm on five of the hospital's 500 acres.

"This is brand new for all of us. It's really thrilling," says Meola, 61, who is poised to roll out fresh zucchini pancakes and tomato jam, too.

The three-year-old Easton hospital, known as the Anderson Campus of the nonprofit St. Luke's University Health Network, is the first in Pennsylvania to start its own farm on the premises.

"The time has come for stuff like this, and you can do it anywhere, the limiting factor being land," says Edward Nawrocki, president of the Anderson Campus, who expects the farm to break even in three years.

On campuses large and small, hospitals are finding ways to transform their historically bland, unhealthy, institutional food into the kind of delicious, nutritious, and locally sourced offerings that have captivated American gastronomes for years now.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

In a bid to beef up its presence in sports arenas and a variety of other large venues, Sodexo will acquire foodservice vendor Centerplate for $675 million.

Sodexo says the deal, which is expected to be finalized by the end of this year, will more than double its global footprint.

Centerplate, which serves as the foodservice operator for a number for stadiums, convention halls and other event spaces, brought in revenues of $998 million for the year ending June 2017, according to Sodexo. Centerplate was purchased five years ago by Olympus Partners, a private-equity company...

Menu Development
eggs

Loyola University Maryland took a new approach to all-day breakfast with an egg-focused concept.

Breakfast options were top of mind for students when asked what they would like to see on the menu at the university’s revamped Boulder Garden Cafe. Instead of creating an all-day breakfast station, however, the Baltimore-based dining team went beyond traditional options and created a concept that services all mealparts with eggs.

“It can be somewhat mundane,” says Executive Chef Don Crowther on why the team strayed away from the trendy all-day breakfast. At the eatery’s Sunny...

Industry News & Opinion

The University of Kansas has added a retail pass that allows students to purchase one to-go combo meal per day at cafes and markets on campus, the University Daily Kansan reports.

The pass is available on two different meal plans and is geared toward on-the-go students who don’t have the time to sit down and eat at a residence hall.

“It has increased the participation rate,” Jamie Reed, a service assistant for the school’s dining services, told the University Daily Kansan.

Over 1,800 students have used the pass since its debut at the beginning of the semester....

Industry News & Opinion

The University of Minnesota dining team has created a vegan student group in an effort to improve the school’s vegan offerings, Minnesota Daily reports.

The group was created by the school’s foodservice vendor, Aramark, and its campus sustainability coordinator, who is vegan, after receiving numerous complaints from students about the lack of vegan options on campus.

The group will this week host its first meeting, during which members will be able to share feedback and provide solutions to help enhance the school’s vegan offerings. Members will also keep a photo journal...

FSD Resources