BRIDGEPORT, CT – A healthy cooking demonstration by a local chef will kick-off the opening of St. Vincent’s Farm Stand on Tuesday, July 9. The market will be open every Tuesday from 11:30 am – 4 pm until October 29 immediately in front of St. Vincent’s main entrance at 2800 Main Street. Cecarelli Farms of Northford, CT, will be providing a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables for the market each week.
The cooking demo, hosted by the Bridgeport Farmers Market Collaborative (BFMC), of which St. Vincent’s is one of eight members, will take place from 12 -1:00 pm at the Farm Stand. The event is free and open to the public and is the first of four cooking demos to be held at St. Vincent’s Farm Stand. The other three dates for cooking demos are August 13, September 10 and October 8. No registration is necessary. Parking in the visitor garage is free with validated ticket for those visiting the Farm Stand.
“Bringing Good Food for All” Chef Raquel Rivera-Pablo’s philosophy. Owner of A Pinch of Salt, Chef Raquel will prepare a dish using the fresh produce available at the farm stand on that day. As she prepares the dish, she will give cooking tips and answer questions. Free samples will be available on a first-come, first-served basis and recipes will be provided to all.
For those who participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the BFMC doubles the SNAP dollars that customers have as long as it is spent at any of the Farmers Markets.
In 2017, St. Vincent’s Medical Center Foundation funded $5,000 in “Bridgeport Bucks,” another program of the BFMC, to be dispersed at specific sites of care within its health system to women who are at risk for developing or are being treated for heart disease. Patients can use these coupons at any of the seven Bridgeport Farmers Markets to purchase fresh fruit and vegetables as part of a heart-healthy diet, which can help improve the health of those with heart conditions and/or reduce risk.
Chef Raquel Rivera-Pablo
Chef Raquel Rivera-Pablo is passionate about educating communities on the importance of healthy cooking, understanding nutritional information and shopping on a budget. Chef Raquel graduated with highest honors from the Institute of Culinary Education and completed her internship at the legendary Le Bernardin in New York City. In 2009, she created her own cooking business, A Pinch of Salt, LLC, offering hands-on cooking instruction on the preparation of delicious, healthy, inexpensive and easy to recreate meals. Because of her dedicated service to City Harvest in New York, Chef Raquel received the honor of an invitation to the launch of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Initiative at the White House South Lawn.
Since moving to Bridgeport in 2013, Chef Raquel has shared her cooking knowledge with the community through her partnerships with Cooking Matters, the YMCA, the Council of Churches of Greater Bridgeport and the Bridgeport Farmers Market Collaborative.
St. Vincent’s Farm Stand/Bridgeport Farmers Market Collaborative
St. Vincent’s Farm Stand has operated since 2009, first under the auspices of the Wholesome Wave Foundation, and since 2015, as a member of the Bridgeport Farmers Market Collaborative (BFMC), a unique partnership of eight independent farmers markets, serving fresh fruits and vegetables to Bridgeport residents in neighborhoods throughout the city. The goal is to ensure Bridgeport residents have access to fresh, healthy, locally grown foods and to support local businesses. In addition to coordinating some administrative and marketing responsibilities for the eight markets, BFMC is also responsible for providing resources to double the SNAP/EBT purchases of customers, which along with other government funded incentives, allow low-income residents access to healthy fresh foods available at the markets. The Farmers Market is another way in which St. Vincent’s has responded to community needs and supports its mission of caring for all most especially the poor and vulnerable.
About St. Vincent’s Medical Center
Founded by the Daughters of Charity in 1903, St. Vincent's Medical Center is a mission-driven organization committed to exceptional health care for all with special attention to persons living in poverty and those who are most vulnerable. St. Vincent’s, with more than 3,200 associates, includes a licensed 473-bed community teaching hospital, a 76-bed inpatient psychiatric facility in Westport, a large multispecialty provider group, and St. Vincent’s Special Needs Services. In 2012, and again in 2018, St. Vincent's achieved Magnet® Recognition by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), the highest national honor for nursing excellence. In 2013, St. Vincent's Medical Center was named Top Performer on Key Quality Measures® by The Joint Commission, the leading accreditor of health care organizations in America, and has been recognized by both The Joint Commission and OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) as a model of a highly reliable organization dedicated to patient safety. St. Vincent’s has been accredited by The American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer since 1947, and has also earned its designation from the National Accreditation Program for Breast Cancer. St. Vincent's Medical Center is part of Ascension, one of the leading non-profit and Catholic health systems in the U.S. For more information on programs and services, visit www.stvincents.org.