February 17, 2010
Hospitals, farmers markets the hot new pairing

almonds.jpgTalk about taking the old adage "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" to heart.

Sutter Davis Hospital is teaming with the Davis Farmers Market to provide produce and farm products at the hospital.

Plans include opening a small farmer's market at the medical campus, incorporating fresh local produce on cafeteria menus, selling gift baskets of farm products in the hospital's gift shop and hosting produce tastings in the cafeteria, Sutter spokespeople said.

The goal is to boost awareness of the relationship between eating farm fresh, local food and good health.

The program begins Saturday, when hospital and Sutter West Medical Group staff will be at the Davis Farmers Market to provide free health screenings, including body composition and glucose testing. The screenings will be held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Health information and free jump ropes also will be distributed.

Weather prevailing, staff also will be providing free bone density screenings from 9 a.m. to noon.

The UC Davis Student Nutrition Association also will be serving samples of heart-healthy soups and sharing recipes at the market.

The innovative partnership was born out of a desire to make the market more accessible to the Davis community, said Randii MacNear, the market's executive director.

"You can't always bring people to the market, but you can bring the market to where people are," she said.

The approach has already proved successful for Kaiser Permanente, where farmers markets have been established at some of the medical campuses, including Sacramento, Roseville and Stockton, according to Kaiser's Web site.

What do you think of the pairing of hospital and farmers markets? Would you shop before or after an exam? Would you opt for a get-well basket of fruit over a bouquet of flowers for a hospitalized loved one? Post your thoughts and comments here.

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