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Thunder Bay senior home residents soon to eat more local food

An area farmer says a program to bring locally grown food to three city-run seniors' homes in Thunder Bay is good for business.

Blueberry beet muffins, roasted root vegetable dishes pull ingredients from produce grown around Thunder Bay

Kevin Belluz of Belluz Farms says the recent agreement to supply vegetables year round means his operation is getting busier. (Gord Ellis/CBC)

An area farmer says a program to bring locally grown food to three city-run seniors' homes in Thunder Bay is good for business.   

Kevin Belluz says the recent agreement to supply beets, onions, cabbage and carrots to the homes year-round means his operation is getting busier.

Belluz said he has had to hire three more people to help meet the demand.

"We have had extra staff working all summer  ...  and we are hoping to have two new staff, permanent, year-round, as this project takes off," he said.

Using northwestern Ontario root vegetables throughout the year is a great way to eat in a more sustainable way, he said and added that farms throughout the northwest reap the benefits when more people and organizations consume local foods.

Local carrots, beets, cabbages and onions will soon be on the menu at some of Thunder Bay's nursing homes. The city has made an agreement with nearby Belluz Farms to supply local food to three homes — Grandview Lodge, Dawson Court and Pioneer Ridge. (Jonathan Castell/CBC)

The supervisor of nutrition and food services at Pioneer Ridge Home for the Aged in Thunder Bay said the locally grown foods will be a welcome part of the menu.

"We can do a lot of different ethnic soups," Chris Borutski said.

"We have a lot of different ethnic groups in the homes. They are all from European cultures that have gone back to root vegetables, and started from root vegetables.  So we are looking to entice our cooks to come up with [recipes using] vegetables that we have here," he said.

At first the vegetables will be substituted for non-local product in existing menu items, Borutski added.

"Then, as the staff develops new recipes, residents will be served dishes like roasted root vegetables and blueberry beet muffins," he said.

The partnership between the nursing homes and Belluz farms fulfills one of the goals of the Thunder Bay and Area Food Strategy.

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