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Food shopping from a distance: the new rules

This list of delivery and pick-up options changes daily, sometimes even hourly. Here’s what was on offer at press time.

CSA-style boxes containing a range of fruit, vegetables, cheese, bread, milk, and eggs available from Russo's in Watertown on weekdays.
CSA-style boxes containing a range of fruit, vegetables, cheese, bread, milk, and eggs available from Russo's in Watertown on weekdays.Sally Pasley Vargas

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.”

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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.

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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.

Boxes of food are loaded into cars at Russo's.
Boxes of food are loaded into cars at Russo's.Sally Pasley Vargas

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

Costco

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

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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

Market Basket

Delivery via Instacart; early morning shopping for seniors. www.shopmarketbasket.com

Roche Brothers

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

Croissants, cookies, pies, galettes, and a few sandwiches. www.sandpiperbakery.com

Shaw’s

Delivery via Instacart. www.shaws.com

Star Market

Delivery via Instacart. www.starmarket.com

Stop & Shop

Pickup and delivery at various locations through Peapod. Early morning shopping for seniors. www.stopandshop.com

Trader Joe’s

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

Wegmans

Pickup and delivery at various locations. Delivery via Instacart www.wegmans.com

Whole Foods

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

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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 sally.p.vargas@gmail.com.