WILKES-BARRE — Asparagus, cucumbers, strawberries and peppers.
That was just some of produce available at the Get Fresh Market at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center on Wednesday. This is the second year that the market has been offered at Geisinger Wyoming Valley.
“We were looking into a way to provide fresh, local produce to our employees and to the visitors and guests of Geisinger,” said Rebecca Crotti, healthy selections coordinator of Geisinger Food Services.
The event also featured a cooking demonstration by Chef Steven Mercer of U.S. Foods. He prepared grilled angel food cake with balsamic mint strawberries, a frittata with green asparagus and roasted white asparagus.
The crowd was scarce when the market opened, but staff members flocked to the market during lunch hour.
The market’s produce came from all over Northeast and Central Pennsylvania. Crotti explained the facility has a no solicitation policy, which prevents local farmers from selling produce at the hospital.
Instead, Geisinger purchases the produce from its vendors, U.S. Foods and Pocono Produce of Stroudsburg, and sells it. Products ranged from cheeses from Lancaster to mushrooms from the Philadelphia area.
“Obviously, as the season goes on, we’re going to get more things closer to home,” Crotti said. The market is set to return to Geisinger Wyoming Valley for one day each month.
Crotti said berries and corn would be available in the summer months, followed by apples, pears and squashes leading into the fall months.
The event is part of Geisinger Health System’s “Healthy Selections” program. The program aims to give guests and employees healthier options when eating a meal at one of Geisinger’s medical facilities, and promote good eating habits “as an important component of a culture of wellness.”
Crotti said the Get Fresh Market is featured at eight Geisinger facilities in Northeast and Central Pennsylvania, and despite Wednesday’s low turnout, is a popular event.
“Sustainable food is kind of the ‘it’ thing right now,” Crotti said. “A lot more people are getting into that sort of eating pattern.”