Watertown Regional Medical Center—Inspiring a Community

Watertown Hospital

Watertown Regional Medical Center—Inspiring a Community

Food is Powerful Medicine. It’s the tag line on The Watertown Regional Medical Center (WRMC), Harvest Market Café, but it’s much more than marketing. It’s a philosophy that runs through the entire operation. Across the country, hospitals and medical centers are moving toward providing healthier, gourmet, and a la carte options for their patients and their staff. In our own backyard, Chef Justin Johnson and the administration at the Watertown Hospital have taken this movement to new heights. 

Renovation began in April of 2013. Formerly designed around batch cooking and tray line service, the kitchen was gutted down to the concrete. With a little help from their friends at Boelter, just seven months later, on November 5th, the Harvest Market Café opened for business. Separate prep and cooking lines were installed for patients’ and café customers. A third kitchen is reserved for meat, fish, and poultry prep only, reducing the risk of cross contamination. The only freezer in the entire operation, which serves roughly 300 meals a day, is no bigger than what you might see in a residential kitchen.  Providing fresh ingredients is one of the cornerstones of the Harvest Market wisdom. A wisdom that is backed up by an 11,000 sq. ft. garden on the hospital grounds, and meticulous sourcing for fresh, organic, and local, cheese, meat, fish and poultry. With items like Grilled Pear and Roquefort Salad, Heirloom Tomato Bisque Soup and Zucchini and Almond Orzo Salad, just to name a few, the patient menu reads like something you might see at any upscale restaurant. 

Chef Johnson and the administration at WRMC recognize, though, that while it’s important to provide fresh and flavorful options for their patients, healthy eating takes root outside the confines of a hospital. The Boelter Companies helped design a foodservice program and facility that not only invites the community in, but one that also gives WRMC the ability to reach out. Providing cooking classes like “Super Foods: A Secret to Super Immunity” and “A Taste of Harvest: Rx for Health,” setting up a Winter Farmer’s Market, and offering a meeting place for the neighborhood to utilize, the team at Watertown Medical Center is introducing a new way for hospitals to think about the services they offer, and introducing a new way for their neighbors to think about how they eat. A hospital, and the community that surrounds it, are essentially partners in promoting health and well-being…from the inside out. The Watertown Regional Medical Center is part of the community, providing customer centered foodservice that is convenient, accessible, educational, and delicious.

Interested in learning more about the Harvest Market Café? Click here for the menu, recipes, and upcoming events.