Pig farmers in the heartland are having to, themselves, kill thousands of animals that can’t be sold because the processing plants are closed. Many farmers are traumatized, both because of their imperiled livelihoods and because though they raise animals for meat, they are not used to doing the killing, and don’t have bolt guns to down the animals swiftly and bloodlessly.
I dragged my youngest out of bed this morning for a trek to Burlington H-Mart. I did promise a stop at Gene’s Flatbread or Sichuan Garden…Gene’s won…as a bribe.
Arrived around 11:00, no line to get in. They have gloves, spray disinfectant and paper towels to clean your cart. The bakery was open, very busy and maybe 1 or 2 of the small restaurants.
Lots of fresh fruit and veggies available. We picked up bananas, oranges, bok choy and moved onto the prepared food. Grabbed a tub of bbq marinated chicken thighs and beef ribeye for grilling. There were some good looking vegetable buns but I would be the only one to eat those. And I would do that in one sitting.
They had a fair amount of fresh beef but only some frozen chicken. Did not see pork although there was some in the prepared food section. Lots of fresh seafood. Plenty of eggs and dairy. Sweets were well stocked. Picked up some Pocky and cookies.
The aisles are designated one way but not everyone was paying attention and the front of the store is so overstocked checkout is a little tight. But we were out in 30 minutes or so.
Probably not an every week visit although we do like the bbq now that the charcoal grill back in rotation.
H Mart is my usual weekly stop these days, tho I tend to go at the open. Produce is always well stocked, it seems like. When I went Wednesday. I thought the dry goods shelves were kind of sparse here and there but overall there was nothing lacking that I needed. This place has really proved useful to me over the last two months, with only minor hassles. Happy to shop here.
Its probably more a matter of familiarity. My local Market Basket has what I need and I know the layout by heart. Makes sense I would be most comfortable shopping there. Sounds like H-Mart is the same for you. I do like the seafood offerings at H-Mart, a larger selection than MB. But probably not enough of a draw to travel to Burlington on a weekly basis.
Don’t keep us in suspense! How is Gene doing?
I miss him and I haven’t been there in a long time, because since I shouldn’t eat the carbs anymore, I would only be going there to say hi to Gene, but you never know where he’s going to be on any particular day. I hope he’s doing okay.
It was great, our first time and we’re already talking about the next trip. Sent my son in for pick up so not sure who was in the store.
I added it to the Gene’s Flatbread string. Heres the link
PSA. The Charles Square farmers market in Harvard Square is open today but based on what I saw this a.m., I’m going to avoid it. I was out for an early walk and passed through that area and there was one white box truck that just arrived to set up. There were 2 people outside of the truck without masks (fine there was no one around). As I passed out one more got out and a woman inside said “wait until they go by”. I saw 3 Cambridge PD on bikes who they were avoiding for some reason which I still can’t figure out. I was glad to be at least 20 feet away when someone else in the truck launched into a dry cough fit and the woman in the truck said “haha, you might want to get that looked at”.
I’m sure I am as over reactive to all of this as anyone, and generally I think risk outdoors is very low. However, this was like an after school special kind of thing that makes you shake your head and think you twice. I hate to penalize all of the farmers and vendors trying to stay afloat, but I couldn’t identify where these lovely folks were from. I honestly didn’t even put together that they were there for the farmers market until I had cleared the area. At first I thought might have been a work crew assembling the seasonal tent outside of the Charles Hotel.
Two more weeks means another foray to Market Basket for me (Littleton, Mass.). In-stock conditions were far better since my last disappointing trip.
I don’t want to jinx this, but supplies may have reached a new equilibrium.
If you need all-purpose flour, this may be your lucky week. The shelves looked fully stocked with Gold Medal and King Arthur AP flours. No whole wheat yet though, which is what I need. No yeast yet, either.
You might also be in luck if you want a container of sanitizing wipes. Limit one per customer. I snagged a can of sanitizing wipes for my neighbor, who feels more at ease having them. First time I have seen wipes since things went sideways.
Those meat cases that were empty on my last visit were open and restocked. I didn’t get close enough to assess further.
New hours coming:
Beginning May 31 all MBs will be open from 7 AM-8 PM with senior hours from 6 AM-7 AM.
And a note of trepidation:
For the first time since I moved to weekday shopping, most of my fellow shoppers in the store appeared to be seniors on the elderly side. I have to admit that I was concerned for them being inside the highly trafficked, enclosed space that a grocery store necessarily is.
I worry that they may be hearing confusing messages about “reopening” and assume the risk has dropped?
All masked, though most did not consistently keep the recommended distance from me and others. I felt concern for them but all I could do was move away each time someone entered my space.
Anecdotally, I’ve noticed the last two weeks that on my Wednesday 8 AM run to HMart there was no one in line outside the Burlington Market Basket at that time. the previous 7 or 8 weeks there were always 20-30 people waiting. I wonder if the pressure has eased some at this point.
Also I noticed flats of brown eggs labeled “Market Basket“ on a slip of printer paper that was simply slid inside the clear plastic carton.
Makes me muse that the supply chain is starting to catch up on packing product that would have gone to restaurants, hotels, and food service in the past.
Don’t know if the apparently better availability of delivery is related to this or not.
Possibly, though my gut feeling is that places like Instacart and Amazon have been able to beef up their workforces quickly as so many in the hospitality and restaurant industries have been idled
I agree that the beefing up of the delivery workforce is the likely reason. But having product to deliver must surely contribute, no? No beef, no beef delivery.
In any case, if the market for thinking dries up, I’m glad I have some alternate career options: “This is fooddabbler with your groceries, and I’ve thought a lot about them.”
Thanks, that’s great news about Market Basket extending their hours. A later closing should ease the end of day crush and give essential workers more access. I hope they can keep their employees as safe and healthy as possible in the process.
Morning shopping is not an option for us so I’ve been making larger MB (Wilmington) grocery runs twice a month in the slight lull between lunch and closing. Partner supplements with Trader Joe’s (Burlington) in-between and confirmed a similar usage pattern with the store crew.
Weekday dinnertime grocery shopping tended quiet in the beforetimes so it’ll be interesting to see if that still holds and how the stock holds up.
^ I’m curious about whether this quieter period will return, too.
I realized today that it’s been a couple months (that feel like years) since I gave Neighborhood Produce in Medford a bit of love. I can’t tell you what a great resource this place has been for someone who lives within walking distance during the course of this whole thing. When stuff was really bad and the big stores were floundering and you couldn’t get deliveries and had giant lines, there was a nice, small, friendly market around the corner where I could buy apples and eggs and lettuce and onions and grains. Etc. There were some rocky times early with ordering online and some shifting schedules of availability, but they stayed flexible and stuck with it and updated always about what their current situation was.
They’re now shutting down online ordering (I think for a week at least), as the space in their building that they’ve been using to sort and pack is about to become a construction zone. They say they’ll use the time to rethink the logistics of how they’ll be able to manage web orders and curbside pickup, though the market itself will still be available for walk ins at least Friday to Tuesday. In any case, I wanted to mention them again because they’re a great local market, they’ve been an invaluable and dependable place for me to get groceries in a pandemic, and in general they just seem to be on top of their game.
I’m not averse to corporate markets (cf. my weekly trips to HMart) but I’m sure heartened when a little local indie outperforms almost everyone when it comes to delivering during a disaster. This place has been so useful for me recently, and I’ll support them here on out.
Can’t ask for more than that. What a great concept. And great intention.
Shopping calmed down a lot this summer, so as the calendar turns to September where do things stand now? I’m relieved to say that my grocery runs are much less stressful.
People at my chosen Market Basket in Littleton MA seem to have adapted to masking and distancing protocols, minus the occasional sighting of someone wearing their mask as a chinstrap or ignoring one way travel down the aisles.
With every passing week, items have been more reliably in stock.
This first week of September the baking aisle looked normal again at last. I wonder what will happen when the weather cools and folks retreat indoors.
The cheese case continues to offer a greater selection than I have noticed in the past, possibly because not as much of the product is going to restaurants and events. Once or twice a month, cheese and salad night has become a treat at our house.
Certain cleaning products remain a notable exception, particularly any type of cleaning spray. Also disinfecting wipes—I recall seeing those only 2-3 times since mid-March. Spot shortages and fewer choices continue for sure, cleaning-wise. It’s trickier for me because I am sensitive to fragranced products, so I’m careful not to run low on unscented laundry detergent and dish soap.
Oh, and I swear I saw the first of the Halloween candy today. I’m so not ready!
Oh, you’ve been behind on Halloween candy then. I saw those displays and ‘sales’ offered since early August.
Grocery runs are also fairly “normal” now too. The only difference is when I go to the smaller local neighborhood grocery stores. Some are using a queuing system if the store is busy. The wait times aren’t too bad though. I was at the Fruit Center marketplace in Milton yesterday, where the aisles are much tighter, and it was less than 10 minutes waiting to get in.
Dairy, and specifically creams (light, heavy, etc) continues to be an issue only at the one Stop & Shop that is my regular grocery stop (or maybe all Stop & Shops). Crazy, but I don’t see these prices at any other store. I think it’s just Stop & Shop trying to screw us.
Count me as a fan of this practice. Husband went to Trader Joe’s (Acton) for us for the first time since before the pandemic and was impressed with their attention to queuing and distancing.
Too dangerous for me to buy Halloween candy in advance with both of us home all the time. I wonder if kids will be trick or treating this year? I’d be happy to have treats available on our porch, contactless style. I plan to keep an eye on whether our town designates trick or treating hours or not.