Signage at Lakes Region General Hospital in N.H. lets customers know the hospital supports local farms and healthy meat

By Carole Soule, Miles Smith Farm

It was lunch time, I wanted a burger and maybe some chips. My first choice was Lakes Region General Hospital (LRGH) in Laconia, New Hampshire. Why drive 20 minutes to a hospital for lunch? Because not only does LRGH food taste good, it's locally sourced. Both Laconia and Franklin Hospitals buy all their meat from Miles Smith Farm.

My husband, Bruce Dawson, and I have been raising cattle on Miles Smith Farm for 13 years and now we sell our meat to New Hampshire hospitals. LRGH has served Miles Smith Farm meat for over two years and now Huggins Hospital in Wolfeboro, NH and Concord Hospital in Concord, NH also have our meat on their menus. It's hard to find a restaurant that serves only local beef and now there are three more in the state. Not only is the beef the hospitals serve local, it's also tasty and inexpensive. I regularly eat at the hospitals that serve our meat for a couple of reasons.

I work hard to raise our cattle and I want to be sure the hospital kitchen works just as hard to prepare the meat correctly. Most times I'm thrilled with the way the meat is prepared. Sometimes the meat might, in my opinion, be slightly overcooked or a bit dry, a problem that every institution must face. Even so, I have never had a local burger I didn't enjoy. It's important that hospital cafe customers know they are being served locally sourced meat. We make sure customers know their meat is local by providing signs for the hospital cafe.

The signage helps share the message that this hospital cares as much about eating healthy as it cares about healing. So next time you're trying to decide where to eat locally sourced meat, check out your local hospital. You might be surprised to find local, delicious food at a very reasonable price.