BY MARCY SHORTUSE – You may have noticed that what you’re finding in the grocery store lately isn’t the same as what you found prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. We all know that toilet paper is still scarce and hand sanitizer is unable to be found anywhere, but no one was prepared for the fact that the meat, produce and milk supply would be disrupted.
When the Coronavirus pandemic required a shutdown of restaurants, schools and other places where food is served, the supply chain was severely disrupted. Perishable food had to be purged somewhere, and you might have seen footage of farmers plowing fresh vegetables under in the field and dumping milk out onto the ground. There was talk of cows, pigs and chickens being euthanized because of the low demand. Meanwhile, many in America were looking at empty refrigerators and pantries because they were unable to work and unemployment was not coming in.
Now that things are opening up again, there is still a glitch in the food supply system, and some people are still concerned with purchasing food products that may have been shipped to China for processing and packaging. Whatever reasons are presented for second-guessing the safety or availability of the food that goes on the family dinner table, eating fresh, home-grown food is a concept that is growing in popularity right now.
As far as meat goes, many people never thought about calling up a farmer to see if they would sell a cow … yet it is a practice that many have employed for years. You can split the cost of a cow or pig among friends, have it butchered locally and not have to buy meat at the grocery store for a very long time.
Local butcher shops are also making a comeback. Their meat comes from local sources, and the freshness can be tasted in your first bite.
Many local people also sell fresh eggs. Again, this is an instance where the difference in taste between grocery store eggs and farm-fresh eggs is vast; even the color in fresh eggs is more vibrant. Eggs are often sold by word-of-mouth by local people, and you can also check the Facebook marketplace for people who have them.
There are many local sources for fresh vegetables as well. The Boca Grande Farmer’s Market and the Englewood Farmer’s Market won’t return until later this year, but there are still some small produce markets around our area that have fresh vegetables for sale, particularly at this time of year.
Below are just a few locations close by where you can find fresh food. If there was ever a time to make a change in food-buying and consumption habits, it might as well be now.
• B & G Italian Deli & Meat Market
3805 Tamiami Trl. # C, Port Charlotte
• Kallis German Butcher Shop
2420 Tamiami Trl., Port Charlotte
• Cut Right Seafood
136 S. McCall Rd., Englewood
• Placida Fish Market
41 Chailett Rd., Rotonda West
• Cape Haze Convenience Store
6900 Placida Rd., Englewood
(This store carries local Dakin Dairy milk products.
There is also a small farm stand in their parking lot.)
• Rhoads Produce
210 FL-776, Englewood, FL
(eggs and veggies)