The Watercress Company, who are based in Dorchester, has teamed up with Dorset County Hospital to introduce their watercress soup to their patient’s menus as part of a trial which could be rolled out across the entire NHS.

The soup, which is made exclusively from fresh, British ingredients is packed full of more than 50 vitamins and minerals making it ideal for the new national healthcare project which is looking at meals available in hospitals. Studies have shown that watercress is so full of nutrients it is beneficial to the elderly and pregnant women, as well as proving to aid psychological health.

Speaking to reporters, Tom Amery, from the Watercress Company, said: “The importance of nutritious food for hospital patients has been discussed for years, with chefs such as Lloyd Grossman, Albert Roux, James Martin and, most recently, Prue Leith, all supporting campaigns for its improvement. However, it has always proved difficult.
“We have developed a recipe for a nutrient-dense watercress soup with high energy and protein levels that is rich in vitamins and minerals, literally what the doctor ordered.”

The soup for the trial is being made from the Watercress Company’s UK grown winter crop, which is not sold due to its larger leaves and thicker stems. It is, however, ideal for turning into soup. Should the trial be a success, it is aimed for the soup to be made fresh and frozen into blocks making it much easier for hospital catering teams without compromising on healthy food.

As part of the trial, the Watercress Company have installed a free watercress fridge in the restaurant which is proving very popular with hospital patients, staff and visitors.

Patricia Miller, Chief Executive at Dorset County Hospital, said: “This is a very exciting project for our Trust to be involved in and we are looking forward to our ongoing partnership with the Watercress Company.”

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