Stamford Farm Serves Up Healthy Eating Workshop

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Gavin Pritchard, a registered dietitian and chef with Stamford Hospital's Department of Population Health and Prevention, talks while preparing beans during Fairgate Farm's Farm to Table workshop Wednesday. The farm is located on Stillwater Avenue.
Gavin Pritchard, a registered dietitian and chef with Stamford Hospital's Department of Population Health and Prevention, talks while preparing beans during Fairgate Farm's Farm to Table workshop Wednesday. The farm is located on Stillwater Avenue. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Sisters Clementine, 11, left, and Esther Voltaire, 10, right, attend the Farm to Table workshop at Fairgate Farm
Sisters Clementine, 11, left, and Esther Voltaire, 10, right, attend the Farm to Table workshop at Fairgate Farm Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Brothers Jayne, 6, and Derwin Preux, 7, check out yellow beans at Fairgate Farm's Farm to Table workshop.
Brothers Jayne, 6, and Derwin Preux, 7, check out yellow beans at Fairgate Farm's Farm to Table workshop. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Alexandra Garces, a nutrionist, displays a recipe to a group of about a dozen people at the Farm to Table workshop at Fairgate Farm.
Alexandra Garces, a nutrionist, displays a recipe to a group of about a dozen people at the Farm to Table workshop at Fairgate Farm. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Mary Ann Dunnell, a volunteer with Stamford Hospital, watches as 11 children draw on their chef's aprons at the Farm to Table workshop at Fairgate Farm.
Mary Ann Dunnell, a volunteer with Stamford Hospital, watches as 11 children draw on their chef's aprons at the Farm to Table workshop at Fairgate Farm. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Corn grows at Fairgate Farm on Stillwater Avenue.
Corn grows at Fairgate Farm on Stillwater Avenue. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Fairgate Farm manager Bill Callion shows Mardochee Voltaire, 9, left, and Christopher St-Louis, 7, right, a zucchini patch.
Fairgate Farm manager Bill Callion shows Mardochee Voltaire, 9, left, and Christopher St-Louis, 7, right, a zucchini patch. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Mardochee Voltaire, 9, holds a zucchini while Fairgate Farm manager Bill Callion looks on.
Mardochee Voltaire, 9, holds a zucchini while Fairgate Farm manager Bill Callion looks on. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Alejandra Garces and Gavin Pritchard prepare beans for the salad they are making at the Farm to Table workshop.
Alejandra Garces and Gavin Pritchard prepare beans for the salad they are making at the Farm to Table workshop. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Flowers grow at Fairgate Farm on Stillwater Avenue.
Flowers grow at Fairgate Farm on Stillwater Avenue. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern

STAMFORD, Conn. -- Stamford sisters Clementine, 11, and Esther Voltaire, 10, aren't afraid of vegetables and regularly eat them as part of their meals.

"Vegetables are our main meal at home," said Esther Voltaire, 10, in words that would be music to the ears of nutritionists everywhere.

They attended a Farm to Table workshop at Fairgate Farm on Wednesday at the 3-year-old urban farm on Stillwater Avenue. It was the second of six workshops being held on Wednesday evenings.

Donna Gaudioso-Zeale is director of Stamford Hospital's population health and prevention, and she said the workshop aims to encourage both young and old to eat a healthy diet.

"The message is about healthy eating and to have them touch, feel and taste," she said about the program's participants.

The farm grew from the cooperation among the community, corporate sponsors, Stamford Hospital and the landowner, Charter Oak Communities (Stamford's public housing authority). The farm is part of the Vita Health & Wellness District on the city's West Side in the area surrounding Stamford Hospital. Its aim is to improve community health. 

As part of the workshop, Gavin Pritchard, a registered dietitian, and nutritionist Alejandra Garces were busy preparing yellow and green beans to make three different types of salads for the workshop's participants.

The modest beans are a valuable source of nutrients and protein while at the same time being low in calories, Pritchard told his audience during the cooking demonstration. The beans are also easy to cook, can stay refrigerated a long time and have not risen in price like many other food products, he said.

Farm Manager Bill Callion, former director of public safety for Stamford, oversees the 2-acre Fairgate Farm property and is proud of how far it has come since being saved from development. 

"We had three options: a meadow, a pocket park or a community garden or farm," he said. "There are the sweetest sweet peas in the world in that row right there."

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