Jean Weiler, Hudson Hospital nutrition manager purchases a locally raised steer at the St. Croix Co. Fair. The steer was raised by Madeline Melby of New Richmond, WI.
HealthPartners hospitals, Hudson and Westfields, purchased locally raised beef and pork at the St. Croix County Fair last month. Supporting communities and purchasing locally is part of HealthPartners sustainability initiatives. The purchase also supports the hospital’s efforts to provide top quality, locally grown beef and pork to patients, visitors and staff.
Hudson Hospital nutrition manager, Jean Weiler and Westfields nutrition manager, Randy Calleja, along with Linda Stefonek, Westfields dietitian, attended the Meat Animal Auction at the fair sponsored by the St. Croix County 4-H and FFA (Future Farmers of America). Prior to the auction, information was sent to the nutrition managers about how the auction is held and the typical weight and prices for the animals.
This is the second year Hudson Hospital participated in the meat auction. This year they purchased a steer, named “Magic”, a black angus raised by Madeline Melby, a member of the “Dry Run Go Getters” club of New Richmond. The steer weighed-in at 1,122 pounds. “Buying from the 4H at the St. Croix County Fair is an opportunity to purchase locally, support youth in the community, and support the community through using a local meat processor,” says Weiler. Hudson Hospital has made local purchases part of their goals and commitment to sustainability. They also participate in national initiatives: Healthier Hospitals and Healthy Foods in Health Care providing locally raised meat and fresh produce from their Community Gardens to patients, visitors and staff.
It was the first year Westfields Hospital purchased locally grown meat at the fair. Westfields sustainability efforts also support buying locally and serving healthy nutritious foods to patients, visitors and staff. This year, Westfields purchased a hog at the St. Croix County Fair from Will Ryan of Rolling Hills 4-H Club, Hudson. They also purchased a hog at the Polk County Fair in August. Some of the meat was used in a fundraiser bringing in nearly $525 for the Walk to End Alzheimers to be held in New Richmond on September 22. Additional pork products will be offered at Westfields’ cafeteria.
When an animal is purchased through the auction the purchaser selects a processing company which is Olson’s meats in Woodville, WI. The processor takes the animal after the fair for slaughter and process. The processor contacts the purchaser about the type and size of cuts and how to package. The meat will be available in a few weeks for both Hudson Hospital and Westfields Hospital to serve patients, staff and visitors. “Going to the auction was really fun! A great learning experience!” says Weiler.