Casey’s Pond focuses on fresh, local food in dining room

Teresa Ristow
Charles Fleischman, the new executive Chef at Casey's Pond, holds a plate of fresh produce inside the senior living center's main kitchen. Fleischman said the center is working to provide more fresh produce and locally grown foods.
John F. Russell

Casey’s Pond senior living community is integrating more fresh, local foods into its dining menu as part of a new partnership with food and dining management company Unidine.

The residential community hired Unidine to take over food services — previously run in-house — this summer, and changes made so far are going over well with residents.

“Unidine is definitely a culinary professional,” said David Street, a Casey’s Pond independent living resident. “The quality of the meals here, in our opinion, is outstanding. I never leave anything on my plate.”

New executive chef Charles Fleischman came to Casey’s Pond from a similar position in Denver this June, and said he’s enjoying working with the facility’s culinary team.

“They’ve had a great attitude about the changes we’re making,” Fleischman said. “It’s all about fresh food and integrity of food.”

Server Laurie Weaver said the partnership with Unidine has gone smoothly so far.

“They’ve have been excellent about working with us and taking comments into consideration,” Weaver said.

Fleischman is working to revamp the community’s menu to highlight local meats and seasonal foods and has been using more fresh and local foods in the existing menu in the meantime.

Unidine hopes to partner with Brothers Custom Processing in Craig for meat, Fleischman said.

“I’m looking forward to working with Brothers and using buffalo and lamb,” he said.

Street and fellow resident Jean Dunham said they were impressed with the presentation of food since Unidine took over, and they’ve enjoyed Fleischman’s presence in the dining hall during meals.

Fleischman said he has also begun holding a monthly food forum to gather feedback from residents.

“I try to get out there and make sure they’re happy,” Fleischman said.

Unidine Regional Vice President Jim McDonald said that fresh, locally sourced food is a good staple for every diet, but is particularly important for seniors.

“If you’re eating the right way, it gives you the right fuel and energy,” McDonald said. “And good quality food from scratch is premium fuel.”

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

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