Edible Essay: Food comforts me during COVID-19

When crisis strikes, I go straight to what I can control … food. I shop for food. I organize food. I cook food. Sometimes I go overboard.
I resisted stocking up until this week, until the governor shuttered all 22,000 restaurants throughout Ohio. That’s when I started overachieving. Having a well-stocked pantry and freezer gives me sense of control and that quiets the inner chaos.
I don’t know how long I will be housebound by the novel coronavirus COVID-19, so I’ve visited my favorite retailers and farmers to fill my pantry, refrigerator and freezer.
At NaKyrsie Meats in Geneva I purchased local ground beef, aged steak, pork chops, uncured bacon. At G.A.R. Horizons in Chardon I collected local chicken thighs, beef soup bones, pierogis. And, at Osso Farm Restaurant in Hambden Township, I picked up Waygu beef and ordered an Easter ham. It might sound like overkill, but each market has different products.
I’ve purchased a peck of mixed pie apples from Sage’s Apples Farm Market in Chardon. And, I’ve visited my sister to collect fresh eggs from her chickens. My dad refilled my maple syrup jug and I have plenty of honey.
With local farmers markets on hiatus through April and maybe longer, I’ve been stumped to source in- season vegetables. Rainbow Farms in Perry and The Chef’s Garden in Huron have become part of my solution.
This weekend I’ll peruse Rainbow Farms market in for lettuce, bok choy and more. Farmer/owner Tina Klco says hothouse cucumber and tomatoes as well as asparagus will be available at some point in April. I may even subscribe to Rainbow’s seven-week, spring CSA ($15) to start March 31.
With restaurants shuttered, The Chef’s Garden — known for providing microgreens and specialty vegetables to top chefs worldwide – is redirecting vegetables to home cooks. That means I can have specialty vegetables delivered to my front door.
That’s important to me because I can’t store fresh vegetables for long. I need to replenish them regularly. It’s a bonus these are locally grown, and The Chef’s Garden will continue growing them. It’s a bonus that I don’t have to go shopping to get these vegetables. A package will arrive at my door.
Interestingly, Farmer Lee Jones has worked with nutrition experts to develop four packages targeted to health support — Anti-Aging, Detox, Immunity Booster and Optimal Health boxes. I paused when I heard the $89 pricetag – which includes free shipping — for the Immunity Booster and Optimal Health. It sounded like a lot, until I did some math. One of these boxes lasts our family of two at least two weeks. That’s $45 per week, not far from what I might spend on vegetables elsewhere. And, I don’t have to leave home to pick it up.
For now, my house is filled with the competing aromas of beef broth simmering and apple pie baking.  I find a simple comfort in bringing these to the table.
In my kitchen, I’m in control.
–Paris Wolfe