Peanuts, crackerjacks, hot dogs and beer. For decades any baseball fan who craved a healthy meal would have to eat before they ventured out to the ballpark. Over the past few years selections have improved, but fresh fruits and vegetables remain in short supply. That is, until now. In a move we’re sure first lady Michelle Obama would approve of, Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, has built a rooftop garden behind the Gate A Fenway Park facade to grow their own produce.
Fresh greens grown in the new Fenway Farms will change seasonally, and, according to the team, include arugula, green beans, broccoli, carrots, cucumbers, eggplant, kale, lettuce, pea shoots, sweet peppers, and tomatoes as well as herbs such as basil, chives, cilantro, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary and thyme.
So, where do these healthy foods fit in amongst the normal fare typically served at stadiums? Fenway announced that the veggies and herbs will be used in the food products prepared at the ballpark this season and in the restaurant in the EMC Club. We’ll be curious to see the new menus. (Will patrons be able to order a side of kale rather than French fries?)
In an effort to get kids on board with improving their diets, Fenway Farms will be used as a teaching tool for local kids to learn about healthy eating and the environmental advantages of locally grown foods.
Fenway reports that environmental benefits include improved air quality and general energy reduction, with the garden acting as an insulator reducing the heating and cooling needs for the building underneath.
A quick look at Fenway’s current menu shows that new healthier options will be quite a shift. While the park does serve some good-for-you foods (they are labeled “healthy options” on the concessions guide), the options that are currently available in the most locations throughout the park include candy, chicken tenders, popcorn, crackerjacks, franks, hamburgers, fries, ice cream, pizza, Italian sausage, nachos and soda.
The home of the Red Sox has dabbled with homegrown food before. In June 2008, the club grew tomatoes behind the mound in the bullpen.
As for who will be taking care of the plants, we won’t be seeing center fielder Mookie Betts or any of his teammates pulling up carrots. Green City Growers, one of the companies that helped install the rooftop garden, will maintain the garden throughout the season.
Despite a winter on the East Coast that seemed to never end, fans should be able to enjoy the vegetables soon. The Red Sox celebrated their opening day earlier this week, kicking off the baseball season as well as the growing season.
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