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An Employee Appreciation Day event introduced Huggins Hospital39s new partnership with local beef supplier Miles Smith Farm
<p>An Employee Appreciation Day event introduced Huggins Hospital&#39;s new partnership with local beef supplier Miles Smith Farm.</p>

Meat, the Neighbors

Huggins Hospital contracts with meat processor that sources its raw product from in state.

You don’t have far to go to see where the beef you eat at Huggins Hospital, in Wolfeboro, N.H., comes from. It’s all raised in state, and New Hampshire isn’t exactly Texas when it comes to acreage.

The hospital, a nonprofit, critical access, community healthcare provider, recently made a commitment to serving beef exclusively supplied by nearby Miles Smith Farm, a processor that both raises its own grass-fed cattle and sources additional stock from a dozen other farms across New Hampshire.

The hospital’s retail cafeteria has switched out its burgers and hot dogs to Miles Smith Farm products. Those also appear on the patient menu (the hospital has 28 beds and offers room service dining) along with a Shaker Cranberry Pot Roast made with the local firm’s beef.

Brent O'Blenes, of Huggins Hospital's Plant Operations Department, shows off his hamburger and hot dog made from Mile Smith Farm's locally-sourced meat during a recent Employee Appreciation Day event. Photo: Huggins Hospital

“We were first introduced to them at a Health Care Without Harm workshop in January,” says Kurt Roessler, director of food & nutrition services. “They were a presenter there and I started talking to them and decided it would be mutually beneficial to do business.”

That led to a kickoff barbecue event in March where samples of Miles Smith Farm products were served to hospital employees. They were a hit and now the café signage (as well as patient menus) proclaims that it proudly serves locally raised grass-fed beef from Miles Smith Farm.

Roessler plans to expand the number of café specials using the local beef to “as much as they could provide.” His customers include not just staff and visitors but a sizeable number of local residents who—typically for a community hospital in a smaller town—use the café as a destination restaurant.

Between the retail, patient and catering requirements, Roessler estimates he purchases 100 to 150 pounds of beef from the company a month. Miles Smith Farm has its own distribution and makes its own deliveries.

The vendor also offers its products for retail sale at a discount to hospital employees through an Employee Smart Buyers Club.

The Miles Smith beef products are “slightly more expensive than the product we had been using,” Roessler says. “But we thought it was important enough to use the local product that we ate the difference and didn’t raise prices.”

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