As the reality of our new normal sinks in, we’re all finding ourselves navigating an alien landscape and inventing ways to cope. That includes what’s happening in the kitchen. Even for those who brought in ample supplies, bean soup or a bowl of pasta for the third night in a row might drive your family nuts. No crystal ball can tell us how long this will continue, but at some point, we’ll have to figure out how to balance restaurant take-out with home cooking. That means bringing in meat, vegetables, milk, bread, and other fresh groceries. We are all adapting.
Grocery stores are struggling to adapt right now, too, but the news isn’t all bad. Stores will restock, according to local merchants. Jeff Barry, founder of Boston Organics in Charlestown, says that the main challenge at the moment is not the supply, but an imbalance in distribution caused by the sudden surge. He thinks that the sight of empty shelves was part of what prompted panic buying. And though restaurants need less food, consumer demand has skyrocketed. Trucks and drivers are struggling to keep up as markets restock, he says, but we should expect to see a correction of this ripple effect within a few weeks. “After all,” Barry points out, “the population hasn’t quadrupled over the past few weeks.”
The other good news is that many supermarkets already had home delivery systems in place. In the last couple of weeks, deliveries have had some bumpy moments, but we should stay patient and optimistic. Smaller suppliers like Russo’s in Watertown and Boston Organics offer CSA-style boxes of fresh vegetables, pasta, milk, and eggs for delivery or pickup. The vendors choose the contents and the boxes are filled with very little handling. All stores we surveyed emphasized adhering to sanitation practices in keeping with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
You can host your own happy hour at home. Wasik's Cheese Shop in Wellesley and Helen’s Bottle Shop in Manchester-by-the-Sea offer curbside pickup for wine and cheese pairings. You can stick to your pescatarian diet with seafood from Essex Seafood in Gloucester or Captain Marden’s Seafood in Wellesley.
This list of delivery options changes daily, sometimes even hourly. Here’s what was on offer at press time. Check websites for last-minute updates. Pickup and delivery times range from one to five days. Not all items are always available due to restocking issues.
Boston Organics in Charlestown
Delivery only, by subscription. Standard boxes change from week to week according to availability, but you can customize boxes with the option to add groceries. They are currently accepting new signups in limited areas, but you can get on the waitlist. www.bostonorganics.com
Captain Marden’s Seafood in Wellesley
Curbside pickup and local delivery available for retail and restaurant orders. Call 781-235-0860. Pay over the phone or from your car. www.captainmardens.com
Delivery via Instacart. www.costco.com
Formaggio Kitchen in Boston, Kendall Square, and Cambridge
The Cambridge location is offering curbside pickup or delivery only (no store shopping). Call 617-354-4750 to place an order. Check website options at other locations. www.formaggiokitchen.com
Essex Seafood in Gloucester
Call ahead for fish market and take-out orders and curbside. 978-768-723,3 www.essexseafood.com
Foodie’s Markets in South Boston and the South End
Delivery via Mercato coming soon. www.foodies-markets.com
The Foodsmith in Duxbury
Bakery and lunch. Call 781-934-0134 for curbside pickup. www.thefoodsmithduxbury.com
Helen’s Bottle Shop in Manchester-by-the-Sea
No in-store shopping. Order wine, cheese, and provisions online for curbside pickup. Also offering free delivery. www.helensbottleshop.com
Delivery via Instacart; early morning shopping for seniors. www.shopmarketbasket.com
Pickup and delivery at various locations. Early morning shopping for seniors. www.rochebros.com
Russo’s in Watertown
Delivery of custom orders via Mercato. Expect a one- to two-day wait. Early shopping for seniors. CSA-style boxes containing a range of fruit, vegetables, cheese, bread, milk, and eggs available on weekdays. Place order one day ahead. www.russos.com
Sandpiper Bakery in Gloucester
Delivery via Instacart. www.shaws.com
Delivery via Instacart. www.starmarket.com
Stop & Shop
Pickup and delivery at various locations through Peapod. Early morning shopping for seniors. www.stopandshop.com
No delivery or curbside pickup at this time. www.traderjoes.com
Wasik’s The Cheese Shop in Wellesley
Call 781-237-0916 for pickup in the parking lot. Limited local delivery. www.wasiks.com
Pickup and delivery at various locations. Delivery via Instacart www.wegmans.com
Delivery via Amazon Prime. Order two days in advance, but you may not find availability. A corporate spokesperson issued this statement: “We’ve seen an increase in people shopping online for groceries and are working around the clock to continue to deliver grocery orders to customers as quickly as possible.” Early morning shopping for seniors. www.wholefoods.com
Wilson Farm in Lexington
Delivery via Mercato. Currently, there is a five-day wait for delivery. www.wilsonfarm.com
Sally Vargas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.