Back in October, Castle Medical Center began growing vegetables – on its rooftop!
We wanted to check in and see how the grand experiment is working.
It sounds a little like a nursery rhyme with a slight name change. Ruby, Ruby how does your garden grow?
“Right now, we’re harvesting twice a week and we focused on micro-greens and today we cooked roasted turkey and we’re taking the bones and making Chinese jook for dinner and so the patients will be getting some of the micro-greens on top of their jook for tonight,” says Ruby Hayasaka, Castle nutritionist.
And it’s not just the patients who benefit.
“Right here, we have a little farmer’s market for our employees and other customers that come through where we have not only our rooftop greens but produce that we buy from the farmers ourselves,” Hayasaka says.
To find just how successful this rooftop garden is, we called an expert. Award-winning Chef Alan Wong.
“This is purple Osaka, this is a really nice baby white Russian kale, pretty, too. And here is baby arugula,” Wong says.
All of which Chef Wong would use at his restaurant.
“The first thing when I came here, I thought of the opening of the Canoe House on the Big Island. I said to the GM, we spend so much money on landscaping and the grounds, why don’t you build me a garden behind the restaurant,” he says.
There’s a secondary benefit to the rooftop garden that didn’t dawn on us until Chef Wong mentioned.
“The patients walk right by here and everyone’s in the hospital because they want to get better. Imagine them seeing people pick these things for their meals that they’re going to have. The plants are alive and it’s just so healthy. Inspirational,” he says.