Marion is making strides at becoming a healthier community. Now a Blue Zone Site, they’ve been recruiting area business to jump on board with the initiative. Recently three Marion restaurants gained Blue Zone designation, including Ramsey’s Metro Market, the Hy-Vee Kitchen, and Christopher Ryan Bakery and Café. When you hear bakery and cafe, you don’t usually think of healthy options. The owner of Christopher Ryan started out baking cakes in his home, then moved to Newbo Market where he sold sweet treats. But when he opened his shop off Twixt Town Road and expanded to serve lunch and dinner he decided to balance out the sugar with some good for you options, like a roasted veggie sandwich. Which means he didn’t have to make many changes to get the Blue Zone Designation.
The biggest thing is we do is as much locally sourced as we can and we’re about 97 percent from scratch which makes a big difference. You can tell in the bread there’s no preservative and you can tell in the meat it makes a difference, said Christopher Oetker, Owner of Christopher Ryan.
It’s easier for some restaurants than others to get the designation. Blue Zone gives restaurants a checklist with about 30 things on it that they have to do to go blue. It includes things like no salt and pepper shakers on the tables and smaller portion sizes. Marion hopes to get at least 25 percent of locally owned restaurants to become blue zone sites.
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