Food at Retreat Center



Vegetarian Food &
A Taste of Hope Springs Cookbook

Food at Hope Springs

Food is an essential part of the Hope Springs experience. The relationship of heart, mind and body is critically important to our teachings about being in right relationship. Food is part of how we nurture ourselves and it is also about community.

Here at Hope Springs we have always tried to provide the freshest most healthful and delicious foods available. Now, we are working even harder than ever to make sure that we are providing our guests with those same things and we are working equally hard to make sure that we are in right relationship with how we do that.

We are beginning to locally source much of our food. We are helping to build a local farmers market where our friends and neighbors can join together to sell their farm fresh goods to families and to large consumers like Hope Springs. Even as we begin that work, we are already buying from our local producers. We buy eggs from a farm a few miles down the road. We buy pasture-raised chicken and turkey and responsibly raised fish and fresh water shrimp in season, grown here in Ohio and in northern Ky. We buy locally produced honey and regionally produced sorghum. We are buying locally grown apples and making our own applesauce. We have made growing and purchasing agreements with heirloom nightshade and allium farmers for our tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, onions and garlic. We have made commitments for field grown lettuces and winter grown greens for the coming season. We are working to find regionally produced organic milk and cheese. We are working with regional wheat farmers and small mills to provide us with local flours and ground grains. We are making our own bread and pickling our own salad vegetables.

We are doing all of this because we want to be in right relationship with our neighbors—we want to build a community relationship here in this place. We are doing this because we want to provide our guests with the freshest food available.
When we complete our dining hall and new kitchen, we will be able to preserve a great deal of food in season when it is at its peak both in flavor and nutrition. 

As we continue to explore what being in right relationship with our food means, we are also examining seasonality. This will mean a few changes in what we serve. In winter, we will pay a lot more attention to root vegetables, dried beans and grains. In spring there will be lettuces and seasonal vegetables like broccoli and asparagus. In the summer, the bounty of the season will be everywhere-tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, and corn. In the fall the sweetness of fall squashes, apples and nuts will be evident in our food preparations. Moreover, because we will be preserving the harvest, there will be the added luxury of pickled salad tomatoes on the grayest days of winter and aromatic pesto stirred into a stout potage on a cold winter’s night.

We are also working to challenge our staff to think creatively about the foods they prepare. We are spending time with regional chefs and food experts learning how to work with taste, texture and palate depth. While we continue to present many favorite dishes from our cookbook, we are creating new dishes collaboratively in our staff meeting and training sessions, so we can continue to excite and delight at each and every meal.

Finally, as we dream the kitchen into its completion, we are visioning the future. We want to provide our community with the opportunity to learn to preserve food. We want to work with the community to educate them on the need for good food, and how to prepare meals that are nutritious and delicious. In a county with the highest obesity rate among third graders than any other county in the entire United States, we believe this is the best way we can support the community. We also see ourselves making our cannery available to area farmers so they can sell value added products and preserve food for their own consumption.

Food nurtures the body and the soul. Sharing a meal is an act of intimacy and community. The plate must delight all of the senses and capture the imagination of the ones who prepare it and of those who partake. Food is the universal language of welcome, celebration and healing. We are working every day to get it right.  In the next few months, we will begin collecting for our guests, the stories of our farmers and food providers and we will share them with you on our website and in an ever growing collection at our center. Journey with us in this important part of our work.

In Peace,

Cynthia M Brown
Executive Director
Hope Springs Institute

From the beginning, our focus has been on providing food that brings joy and good health to all who come to Hope Springs. Specializing in delicious, home cooked, vegetarian meals, we work closely with workshop leaders.  Our goal is to provide a menu that supports the individuals who come and the work they are doing. Upon request from the leaders, we can include animal protein options at some meals. We have fun creating menus and meals just for you.We are committed to providing an opportunity for people to experience food that is full of love, nutrition, beauty and satisfies body and soul.

A Taste of Hope Springs:  Vegetarian Cookbook: 

A Taste of Hope Springs, Vegetarian Cookbook gives us hope:Mushrooms

StrawberriesSuzanne Stevens, founder and Executive Director of Hope Springs Institute, invited volunteers, guests and staff cooks to share their recipes so she could pick the best of the best to create tantalizing meals at Hope Springs. The kitchen staff consistently offers meals that appeal on every level. They are beautiful, delicious and filled with nutrition. People who eat animal protein when they are not at Hope Springs, beg for these vegetarian recipes. "I'd be a vegetarian if I could have meals like these" many tell us.

SaladWell, you can have meals like these. For a mere $20, you can have our secrets. A Taste of Hope Springs, Vegetarian Cookbook has the menus and recipes that we use at Hope Springs. Buy one for your kitchen and several for gifts. We will gift wrap our cookbooks, enclose a note from you and send them wherever you want. We only charge extra for postage.

Thanks for supporting us and our work. Hope Springs Institute offers space and programs that support the healing of the world family. We encourage dialogue across differences to heal the splits that divide us. We embrace people of all races, cultures, beliefs, abilities, ages and sexual orientations.

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