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Lester Senior Housing Community Brings Jersey-Fresh Produce to Residents with Friday Farmers Market Throughout the Summer

WEST ORANGE, NJ – Residents of the Lester Senior Housing Community have a new convenience to enjoy all summer with the opening of its Friday Farmers Market in its Country Store. The senior living community is owned and managed by the Jewish Community Housing Corporation of Metropolitan New Jersey (JCHC) which is participating in Tuv Ha’Aretz (“good for/from the land”), a community supported agriculture program through the JCC MetroWest. As a member of this cooperative, the JCHC will bring farm-fresh produce weekly to the Friday Farmers Market from a New Jersey farm, as well as locally grown fresh flowers for residents to purchase. The Friday Farmers Market will continue through September 23.

Tuv Ha’Aretz is a community supported agriculture (CSA) program through Hazon, a Jewish food movement that links Jewish communities to local farms to create CSAs. According to its website, Hazon’s mission is “to create a healthier and more sustainable Jewish community and a healthier and more sustainable world for all.” The produce at Lester Senior Housing Community is from Central Valley Farm in Asbury, N.J., which grows mostly organic fruits and vegetables and follows sustainable farming practices.

Laurie Loughney, COO of the JCHC, reported that opening day of the Friday Farmers Market on July 11 was a huge success. “Our residents were very excited about the opportunity to buy fresh produce right on our premises and at competitive prices,” she said. “The blueberries sold out quickly and residents stocked up on beautiful summer vegetables. Some also took copies of the Tuv Ha’Aretz newsletter that has recipes for the vegetables they’d just purchased.” Loughney added that the fresh floral bouquets were also popular.

Daena Silverman, who administers the Tuv Ha’Aretz program at the JCC MetroWest in West Orange, said that, “By supporting local farmers who practice environmentally sound farming techniques, participating in Tuv Ha’Aretz promotes a more environmentally safe, economically fair, and healthy society while building community. We are delighted that the JCHC is participating and bringing fresh healthful food directly to the residents at Lester Senior Housing Community.”

As part of its Tuv Ha’Aretz participation, COO Loughney said that, “We are planning field trips for our residents from our South Orange and West Orange communities to area farmers markets so they can also be part of this wonderful taste of summer and support local farmers.” The JCHC will also sponsor two free events at the JCC in West Orange: On Thursday, July 31, horticultural therapist Megan Fainsinger will give a short talk on New Jersey flowers and a demonstration creating simple summer bouquets. On Thursday, August 14, Mitchell Goldberg, the JCHC’s Director of Regional Dining Services, will give a cooking demonstration with locally grown vegetables at “Summer Kosher Cooking for Two.” Both programs will be held in the Atrium at JCC MetroWest on Northfield Avenue and are open to the public.

For more information about the Tuv Ha’Aretz CSA program through JCC MetroWest, contact Daena Silverman at (973) 530-3536. To find out more about the many housing options and amenities available to seniors through the JCHC, visit www.jchcorp.org or call (973) 530-3962.