Nutritious Culinary Program Offered At These 55+ Communities In Oregon

You won’t believe that food this delicious is good for you!


When it comes to food, Oregon has a plethora of options to choose from with its local ingredients from its farms, vineyards, dairies, oceans, and rivers. Those from Oregon enjoy the fresh ingredients the state offers on a regular basis. But as a bonus, the variety of fresh options promotes creativity which allows you to enjoy dishes that are nutritious, delicious, and even unexpected.

At Sunshine Retirement communities, our chefs are creative in using local delicious ingredients to create tasty yet nutritious meals for our residents. Our Oregon independent living communities are no exception. Residents at Garden Way, our Eugene, OR retirement community, and Summerfield Estates, our Portland-area independent living community, enjoy restaurant-style dining for every meal. Below are some of Oregon’s well-known ingredients that are not only in dishes across the state, but in some menu options at these Oregon 55+ communities.

Local Ingredients You Can Find On Our Menu

  • Ice Cream – Oregon loves creativity in its culture and food, and that extends to the ice cream. For instance, the adventurous can try eclectic flavors like Pear and Blue Cheese, Arbequina Olive Oil, Dill Pickle, and Stumptown Coffee ice cream. Although we offer the classics to appeal to every senior, trying flavors outside of your go-to favorites can get you stepping out of your comfort zone quickly. Who knows, you may find a new flavor you love!
  • Veggie Burger – To all our veggie lovers, you can rejoice! Did you know the Gardenburger was invented in Oregon by restaurateur Paul Wenner? Certain burger chains in Oregon serve a variety of meat-free burgers–some never serve the traditional meat! Our chefs include veggie-based delights at many meals in our Oregon independent living communities.
  • Tater Tots – Did you know that tater tots got their start in Oregon in the 1950s? You may notice this brand in the freezer aisle a lot, Ore-Ida. The “Ore” in “Ore-Ida” is short for Oregon. You can find many places across the state offering tater tots with fun sauces and toppings for an indulging treat. But our residents don’t have to leave home to enjoy their favorite comfort foods. In between healthy, creative dishes, there’s always room for classic favorites.
  • Dungeness Crab – If you love eating crab meat, you’ll be happy to know that Oregon ends up with around ten million pounds of Dungeness Crab each year! These specific species of crabs are loved as the meat that comes with every crab can rival your average lobster. Seafood is not only delicious, but it’s a great source of protein. Because it keeps our residents healthy and satisfied, our chefs incorporate seafood options into our menus.
  • Wild Mushrooms – Active seniors: don’t be alarmed if you are hiking in Oregon and find someone inquisitively searching for mushrooms. Many local chefs–including ours!–incorporate wild mushrooms into their dishes in Oregon, as the state’s climate makes it the perfect environment. You can find delicious varieties tossed into a vegetable medley or as the focus of the meal, like a mushroom tart.
  • Wild Salmon – While wild salmon is typically known for being found in Alaska, you can find three of the five most common salmon species in Oregon. The three species are coho, king (or chinook), and chum. Salmon is a perfect choice of protein as it is high in protein and contains omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, iron, and vitamin D. Salmon is a fantastic healthy ingredient that our residents can find on our menus.
  • Hazelnuts – Many states have a designated state nut, animal, tree, or food. For example, Oregon claims a state nut, the hazelnut. In fact, Oregon grows 99 percent of the entire U.S. commercial crop of hazelnuts. With that said, you can find hazelnut flavors in all sorts of dishes. Our chefs incorporate them into salads, desserts, and even entrees. If you’re allergic to tree nuts, never fear. Our chefs are experts at accommodating special dietary needs.
  • Marionberry Pie – Oregon State University creates marionberries by crossing two types of blackberries. You can find marionberry muffins, jams, ice cream, and pie across the state. If you are a big fan of marionberry pies, you can visit The Willamette Valley Pie Company in Salem, where they offer three kinds of marionberry pies! And if you don’t feel like leaving home, enjoy some of the fresh berry-based treats our dining team prepares for our residents, like parfaits, muffins, and desserts.

Taste Oregon’s Local Ingredients At Sunshine’s Oregon Retirement Communities

There are options for everyone in Oregon, and we bring that into our cooking at our Sunshine communities. Our Executive Chefs and dining teams take pride in creating delicious, creative meals while incorporating our residents’ individual needs into our culinary program. But don’t take our word for it–see for yourself! We would love to have you visit one of our two Sunshine Communities in Oregon and join us for a meal.

To learn more about residency at one of our Oregon independent living communities, contact our friendly team today.

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