Annual Henry’s Market serves up produce, wellness

By: Sherri Kolade | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published June 21, 2017

 Chef Johnny Ray hands out samples of a pesto sauce he created during a Henry’s Market cooking demonstration last year.

Chef Johnny Ray hands out samples of a pesto sauce he created during a Henry’s Market cooking demonstration last year.

Photo provided by Henry Ford Health System

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WEST BLOOMFIELD — Trevor Johnson, Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital’s resident farmer, likes the healthy stuff.

Johnson’s passion for fruits and veggies — and other important sustenance — has sprouted his desire to bring these foods to consumers in more convenient ways.

Through Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital’s third annual Henry’s Market on Main Street, a produce market, Johnson is able to make that happen. 

Henry’s Market features produce, flowers and other items for sale inside the hospital 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesdays through Nov. 15.

“If you walk around the hospital, you are going to see my greenhouse and smell some of the delicious herbs we have in there that make the greenhouse viable,” Johnson said of the herbs for sale at the market. 

Henry’s Market on Main Street features produce from local farmers along the hospital’s Main Street. The market is filled with seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables, baked goods, herbs, pestos, honey and flowers. The market also features cooking demonstrations, the most recent one highlighting vegetarian bolognaise. 

Henry Ford chefs demonstrate how to prepare dishes with ingredients grown in the hospital’s organic hydroponic greenhouse.

Johnson said that a growing number of health systems are focusing on employee health, and placing a produce market in the lobby promotes healthy habits for the employees.

Inside the hospital’s atrium June 13, Johnson animatedly discussed how Henry’s Market is a no-waste market. 

“Everything here gets put to use — its next-highest use. And in my opinion, the next-highest use for local produce is to be given to people who need it most,” Johnson said. “If you can buy it, then maybe you don’t need it (produce) as much as other people. So people who are food insecure … we donate it (the food) to the Forgotten Harvest.”

The food is used in the hospital’s kitchen, and leftovers are donated to the Southfield branch of the nonprofit food rescue group Forgotten Harvest. 

Market prices range from 50 cents for an apple to about $18 for flowers. 

Johnson said produce can be medicine.

“When someone leaves the hospital and they’ve been told they have high blood pressure, the last thing they want to see is a Wendy’s in the lobby,” he said. “So when they leave their doctor appointment and they see me ... I’m here to help reinforce the behavior.” 

Johnson and Sally Ann Brown, a Henry Ford West Bloomfield representative, said the hospital is more than a hospital — it is a community gathering space, and people don’t have to be patients to visit.

“This is about an experience,” Johnson said. “We want you to come here and play mahjongg. Come here for produce on Wednesday. … It is a  health and wellness center — not just a hospital.” 

Johnson said Henry’s Market would not work without the volunteers who make it possible.

“Our volunteers are what put on the market. They are very knowledgeable about produce, and I train them up to whatever level they need to be. ... Volunteers are the heart and soul of this,” he said. 

Emanuel Sharpe, a volunteer at Henry’s Market on Main Street for the third year in a row, said everyone has a purpose, and his is to make people happier than when they arrived.

“I think that I want people to be aware that even though they may have problems, there are other folk out ... in the world who would like to see them not … feel as if they are alone,” Sharpe said.

Sharpe sells produce at the market 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. weekly and volunteers at the hospital in other ways for about 11 hours per week.

“Sometimes I get involved in the conversation with them (customers), and the conversation can be anything,” he said of people looking to learn about preparing certain dishes. “If I don’t know how to do it, I’ll involve one of the other folk who are working with me that day.”

Sharpe added that some hospital visitors who come to see patients have a lot on their minds, and Henry’s Market is a nice distraction.

Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital is located at 6777 W. Maple Road in West Bloomfield. Credit cards are accepted at Henry’s Market on Main Street, which is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesdays. For more information, visit www.henryfordwestbloomfield.com.

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