The Los Alamos Retired and Senior Organization (LARSO) has announced that it has received a $12,500 grant, from the Aging and Long-Term Services, New Mexico Grown program.
New Mexico Grown was introduced to senior centers last year as part of an initiative to work with local farmers and ranchers in New Mexico. It allowed centers to benefit their older populations with fresh fruit, vegetables and New Mexico raised meats, while benefitting the many small businesses across the state.
LARSO worked with three companies over the course of the last year, the two most recent being Rancho de Santa Fe/Velarde Farms and C4 Meat. When they received their first orders the senior center started Fresh Fruit Fridays, introducing a new fruit each week. The fruits were often shared with exercise groups and currently are used for their snacks at their “A Matter of Balance” classes.
Eddie Velarde and his sister Linda and her son have worked tirelessly to supply the senior centers with stone fruits, apples and most recently dehydrated fruits, which filled a variety of needs as the BESC kitchen is under renovation.
Recently, vegetables have found their way up the hill and into the White Rock Senior Center kitchen.
“Linda has enjoyed working with you,” Eddie Velarde said. “We are grateful that you have supported our farm.”
Linda can be found at the local Farmer’s Market this summer on Thursdays. They can also be found at The Fruit Basket.
The New Mexico Grown program also required that a certain percentage of the grant be used for meats. Recently, C4Farms came to the table, to offer some magnificent products, and they deliver too. Tommy Casados, took the challenge of last-minute requests to heart, helping the local centers, as their fiscal year comes to an end.
“We are thrilled to be working with local senior centers,” Casados said. “The health and wellness of their communities are of the utmost importance, and that falls in line with why we produce beef, to produce and distribute vital protein in a manner that benefits the health and wellness of our communities and our environment.”
C4 Farms raises beef on pasture and work with several other New Mexico ranchers in a manner that regenerates the land and produces sustenance for their community. They started selling the beef they raised instead of selling it into the commercial market 10 years ago.
“Over the last 10 years we’ve grown into a direct-to-consumer beef operation (www.c4farmsbeef.com) with an on-farm processing facility,” Casado said. “We’re now able to provide New Mexico with beef that truly is New Mexico Beef.”
The June menu for the senior centers is brimming with new items and a great outlook for possibilities as July will soon arrive. Members may even see a few green chile additions from C4 Farms.
Seniors 60 and older can join the centers for FREE and enjoy many services. These members 50-59 can join for an annual fee of $20. To learn more, visit www.LARSO.org.