Have you ever noticed how gorgeous produce is? Mother Nature really is an amazing artist! I’ve been vegetarian for over 20 years so I’ve eaten a lot of vegetables, but it wasn’t until this spring that I was really forced to be more creative with my cooking. I will try almost any vegetarian food at a restaurant or cooked by someone else, but I really just cooked within my comfort zone until recently.
I live in New Jersey, so Covid-19 hit my state really hard. I’m one of the very lucky people who was inconvenienced, but I did not experience anything near what other people did. That being said, my family and I have been incredibly careful. We are now over 5 months in, and last night was the first time we didn’t wipe down our groceries. It was also only about the 8th time I’ve been to a grocery store in the last 5 and a half months. I haven’t been to Target since the first week in March, which is CRAZY. I've barely seen any of my friends in person, and I’ve had very limited visits with immediate family. My 15 month old son hasn’t been to a playground (or almost anywhere) in 6 months, and he hasn’t been around other children either. Why does this matter? We had to get very creative with our food shopping.
How did we do it?
We used Instacart a few times, but it gets expensive and the food is still being touched by all the people at the grocery store and the shopper. In addition to all the food being a little pricier, we also gave really good tips because we were very grateful to the person shopping. It adds up quickly.
We also did curbside pickup from a local butcher shop/ market. That was one one my favorite solutions because we were supporting a local business. We called in with our shopping list, then they texted us when it was ready. It was a really low tech system, but that business got creative and did what it had to do to stay in business and protect its employees and customers.
We have shipped non-perishables like olive oil, peanut butter, and a few other items from Target.
We also signed up for ThriveMarket.com and MisfitsMarket.com. I really liked those solutions as well. Misfits Market forced me to get creative with my cooking, and I could get some more obscure non-perishables from Thrive Market. If you aren’t familiar with Misfits Market, they get “unsellable” produce from local farms. Unsellable doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with it. Maybe the produce was the wrong size or shape for the grocery store. Maybe the crop wasn’t abundant enough to sell at the grocery store. Maybe the crop overproduced and the grocery stores didn’t need it all. Maybe the produce was a little under ripe or overripe. Because of the nature of the business, I never knew what I’d be getting in my weekly delivery of produce. Sometimes I’d get common foods like tomatoes, but other times I’d get things I wouldn’t normally buy like jicama, mango, whole beets, and red cabbage. It forced me to do new things with my cooking. All the photos you've been seeing as you read are of my Misfits Market produce. Gorgeous, right?
I’m Rachel, an art teacher by day and a freelance artist and pretend chef by night. You can find my art locally and online, and my cooking adventures in my blog.