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‘It’s wonderful’: C.O. Veterans Ranch-grown lettuce a restaurant hit

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- At the Central Oregon Veterans Ranch north of Bend, vets have been using horticulture for the past few months as a way of healing. 

Orion Carriger runs the ranch greenhouse where he, alongside a team of veterans, have begun growing lettuce.

He said Sunday that in the beginning of the project, the team donated all of their lettuce, as they didn't yet have a buyer.

However, in recent months, the veterans' lettuce caught the eye of a Bend Mediterranean restaurant, Kefi.

The restaurant is using the romaine lettuce on their wraps and salads, which co-owner Menoula Stanitsas said has been a hit with customers.

"We've been very happy with the lettuce," she said. "It's so much softer than your regular romaine. It's basically baby lettuce -- it's wonderful."

That's a win for Carriger and the ranch, as proceeds from lettuce sales go back into the program.

"I think there's a real sense of pride for people to have a product in the market like that," he said.

For veterans like Marine Bryan Senner, it feels good to know where the product he's been working on is going.

"There's not many places you can go and spend your day working with people who  have had similar experiences to you, and then go home at the end of the day and with a positive experience, and knowing you've  accomplished something good for the community," Senner said.

The ranch is currently in the midst of a fundraising campaign to expand their program.

Article Topic Follows: War-Military
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Blake Allen

Blake Allen is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Blake here.

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