Harms receives national nutrition award

Tammy Harms of Monticello, right, was recently awarded the Partnership Award from the ANFP. Harms has been in food service for many years, and currently works as a certified dietary services manager at Linn Manor in Marion. (Photos submitted)

This is the 2017 award Harms received from the ANFP for her essay. Harms attended the award gala, June 7-10, in Las Vegas.
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     A career in food service has certainly paid off for Tammy Harms.

     Harms, of Monticello, was recently awarded the Partnership Award through the Association of Nutrition & Foodservice Professionals (ANFP) at a gala in Las Vegas in June.

     “I’m proud of it,” she said. “It was a good experience.”

     ANFP opened the essay contest to all members. Harms has been a member of the national organization since 2001.

     There were 35 entries submitted in April for 12 different categories of awards. Harms was one of 12 winners, the only one from Iowa.

     “There are certain qualifications for each category/award,” she explained.

     This was Harms’ first time entering the ANFP contest.

     “I just picked a category I thought I was qualified in winning,” she said.

     For the past three years, Harms has worked as a certified dietary services manager at Linn Manor Care Center in Marion, a private, non-profit Christian nursing home facility. She manages a staff of seven in the dietary department, cooking three meals a day for 38 residents.

     Harms had to submit a 3,000-word essay that support’s ANFP’s mission of relying on certified dietary managers as the expert in foodservice management and food safety. Harms said she takes advantage of continuing education classes offered through ANFP to stay up on the latest.

     In her essay, she talked about the improvements that have been made at Linn Manor in her time there. Some of those positive changes include switching from pre-made to all homemade meals for the residents. For a small, private nursing home, Harms said it’s the personal touches that make a difference.

     “We take a lot of time and effort putting meals together versus the processed foods,” she said.

     Linn Manor also offers a wide array of options from time to time. Aside from the “meat and potatoes,” Harms said they also enjoy Mexican and Chinese food options.

     “I also talked about my whole career in food service and supervising cooking,” she said of the essay.

     Harms has been in food service for 30 years. She’s worked at residential care facilities since 1999. She started out working at Darrell’s A Family Tradition when she was 13 years old.

     “That’s back when his (Darrell Reyner) parents owned it and it was a truck stop,” she recalled.

     Harms has also worked in the bakery at Family Foods in Monticello and Hy-Vee.

     On the side, she also manages her own baking business, Cake Designs by Tammy. Harms started the in-home operation in 2000.

     “I’m still busy all the time,” she said.

     Having a knack for fun, creative baking, Harms uses that experience when preparing treats for the residents at Linn Manor. She makes themed treats for the residents and their families for special occasions such as Halloween, Christmas and Valentine’s Day.

     Harms also prepares special meals for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, and creates a big buffet spread of snacks and hors d’oeuvres for Christmas.

     “The residents love that,” she said. “It’s fun making homemade treats.”

     Having worked in care facilities for almost 20 years, Harms said one of the biggest changes she’s seen is providing a variety of meal options for the residents.

     “They like a variety, homemade, down-to-earth home-cooked meals,” she said.

     Linn Manor also uses fresh ingredients in their meals, grown in their own garden on site.

     “The garden is planted by the Activities Department with help from the residents,” she said.

     Linn Manor also completed a kitchen remodel project.

     Aside from serving the residents, Harms said they also host community events from time to time, bringing people in to see what Linn Manor has to offer.

     “It’s part of our community service,” she said.

     Harms and her administrator, Casey Kann, attended the June awards gala in Las Vegas together. She said there were over 400 people in attendance.


Subscriber Login