By Tawnya Rohde, Director of Sales and Marketing–Independent Living

At some retirement communities, there’s a set menu that rotates every month or so. Others use a standardized corporate menu. But at Dallas Retirement Village, there’s a new menu every single week.

Thanks to Dallas Retirement Village’s location in the heart of Willamette Valley, Chef Shawn is able to take the farm-to-table approach. Depending on the season, residents enjoy menu items featuring everything from local leafy vegetables and tomatoes to table grapes grown at local vineyards, to berries grown in the valley.

“For example, when marionberries are in season, we’ll make marionberry pie, cobblers and ice creams,” says Chef Shawn. “Residents love the pies!”

The chef also taps into locally produced meats, including all-natural pork from Oregon’s Carlton Farms. During the growing season, he shops at local farmers markets, where he has relationships with a number of local independent growers.

Overall, the idea is to use less processed products from big food suppliers, and instead focus on creating his own recipes, explains the Chef. Examples include making fresh tomato sauce and serving house-smoked meats for the popular Friday evening barbecues during the summer.

“It’s all part of the home-food revival that’s so popular in Portland restaurants,” explains Chef Shawn. “There’s a little more time and love involved in this kind of home cooking and eating, and we’re bringing that same approach to Dallas Retirement Village.”

Chef Shawn grew up in the Willamette Valley, graduated from Western Culinary Institute in Portland, and has spent 25 years in the food industry—including the last five years working in senior living communities before joining Dallas Retirement Village.

“We are a non-profit community and I love the culture here,” says Chef Shawn. “We have freedom to follow life trends. And because we live in Oregon, we’re blessed to have all the products of the farming community and the ocean available to us.”

To learn more about dining services at Dallas Retirement Village, or to request a reservation for a complimentary farm-to-table lunch and tour, call 503-623-9211.

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