Hospitals revamp menus to utilize locally grown foods

LIHUE — The Hawaii Health Systems Corporation Kauai Region will treat residents and staff to the results of its food and nutrition program that focuses on increasing scratch-cooked, local food in its facilities that includes Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital and the Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital.

“We want people to enjoy the food and experience of eating at the hospital,” said Lance Segawa, HHSC Kauai Region CEO. “Hospitals are stressful with significant challenges, and meal time offers an opportunity to bring joy into the day of our patients, residents, visitors, physicians and staff. At the same time, we are committed to growing our local economy and increasing the self-sufficiency of Hawaii through supporting local farmers.”

Tuesday, the residents and staff of SMMH will have an opportunity to see and taste this new program through its lunch menu that feature locally-sourced ingredients from Kauai Shrimp, Kuamo‘o Farms, Aloha Aina and the Hawaii Ulu Producers Cooperative.

The KVMH residents and staff will enjoy the taste-testing Wednesday from the menu that includes a variety of shrimp dishes such as sauteed shrimp with butter garlic reduction and fresh parsley, ginger-marinated sweet potato tempura shrimp with Ni‘oli chili sauce, shrimp cakes with sweet chili aioli, and others. Local side dishes include ulu chips, ulu chowder, taro falafel, and uala luau with poi gravy.

“Our goal is to make local, highly nutritious food available to everyone on a large scale,” said chef Greg Christian, founder of Beyond Green Sustainable Food Partners, hired by HHSC Kauai Region to lead the food and nutrition teams at both hospitals in reaching their improvement goals. “With 40 years of experience studying operating efficiencies in kitchens, I have learned how to save money and get better ingredients,” Christian said.

In addition to increasing the use of local food, other cafeteria improvemnts in the HHSC Kauai Region include cost-saving measures through operating efficiencies, waste reduction, new menus, utilizing more input of staff, and professional training.

The upgraded cafeterias on Kauai are part of a region-wide revamp to align hospital facilities and services with the complex needs of the modern world.


Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or

  1. truth be known January 21, 2019 5:22 pm Reply

    Hopefully this will include non-GMO produce that hasn’t been sprayed with herbicides and pesticides which is one of the causes of illnesses in the first place. This is a step in the right direction. Hospital food I have received in Costa Rica and Chile was far superior to what is generally served in US hospitals. Fresh produce, fruits and vegetables should be standard fare to help the patients recover quicker. Canned, processed, microwaved foods should have no place in a hospital.

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