Chef teaches Westlake seniors the value of organic food



WESTLAKE, Ohio — Westlake Senior Center Chef Garrett Baglier wants to see older residents eating more organic food.

So, on Sept. 8, he treated members of the center’s Engage, Thrive and Connect class (ETC), which meets twice monthly, to a tasty demonstration.

Baglier perked up interest in his talk on organic food by telling the audience that he would be making an organic salad for all 20 attendees.

But first, he imparted some knowledge:

If you want to grow your own organics, whether in the ground or in containers, be sure to have your soil tested each year at a garden center to make sure the nutrients are not exhausted, he said.

He also advises to use humus in your garden, not peat moss.

He noted to be sure to buy quality seeds. But, in the long run, it’s better to buy plants that have already been started.

Another tip, for those who would like to take a road trip, is to drive to The Chef’s Garden in Huron, Ohio, for what Baglier feels is the best organic produce, as well as some valuable tips for growing one’s own organic food.

The Chef’s Garden practices regenerative farming, meaning there are no fertilizers or pesticides on the produce. There also isn’t excess clay content in the soil or too much phosphorus or nitrogen, which can be toxic.

He said produce at The Chef’s Garden is available for a long growing period.

“The Chef’s Garden produce is grown well into January,” he said, “and the produce has up to 500 percent of the daily nutrition requirements.”

Those interested can visit https://www.chefs-garden.com/about-the-farm.

But Baglier said there are other farms that do the same thing as The Chef’s Garden.

For those who want to do some household composting, Baglier said to remember that it takes about six weeks for kitchen compost items to break down adequately. That compost can then be used in your home garden.

Finally, Baglier made the lovely salads for everyone and performed a taste test. It was astonishing how almost everyone chose the organic option and how much better the salad tasted than a salad made from local or store-bought lettuce, tomatoes, onion and so on.

His salad dressing was simply olive oil. Very surprising, but it tasted wonderful.

“Remember, local produce that might look good is not necessarily the best,” he said of shopping for produce. He certainly proved his point with the salads made for the class.

Baglier is the kitchen coordinator and chef at the Westlake Senior Center. He is happy to entertain gardening questions, especially pertaining to organics.

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