The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

June 27, 2013

Farm market debuts at Geisinger Medical Center

By Robert Stoneback
The Daily Item

— DANVILLE — Geisinger hopes a new farmer’s market in its Atrium Cafe will bring healthier diets to the hospital’s community.

It’s just another part of developing Geisinger’s culture of wellness for staff, patients and guests, said Diane Harlow, assistant director of wellness.

“We’re here to offer healthy options and give people choices,” she said.

The market will be open every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. until the end of October. The Atrium Cafe is in Geisinger Medical Center’s Hospital for Advanced Medicine.

Get Fresh Market partners with Pocono Produce, which buys its food from as many local growers as possible, Harlow said. Prices are comparable to other farm markets in the area.

Prices of produce at the opening included red peppers for 75 cents, strawberries for $3, a dozen ears of sweet corn for $6 and heads of broccoli for $2.25 each.

“We’re not trying to make a profit,” said Harlow. “The reward for us is to have healthier employees.”

The service has been a success so far. Earlier this month, Get Fresh Market had a trial run to gauge employee reaction. Most of them responded that it was about time, said Rebecca Crotti, a registered dietitian for Geisinger.

Several employees grabbed apples and plums to take back to eat at their desk, she said.

A vegetable or fruit will also be featured every week in the Atrium Cafe’s demonstration kitchen, with chefs showing staff and visitors how to prepare the food in different ways. Recipes will be available for people to take home and the dishes will be sold in the cafeteria that day.

For its inauguration, the market’s food of the day was broccoli, featured in omelets, salads and soups.

The market is a collaboration between Geisinger’s wellness program, clinical nutrition program and sustainability program. Clinical nutrition provides oversight on food selection and an “Ask the Dietitian” section during the food demonstration times, which run at regular intervals from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The green bags, provided by the sustainability department, are made from recyclable materials.

“This focus on wellness come from the top down,” Harlow said.