Feeding Your Soul
Local purveyors are connecting with their customers on a whole new level
A trip to the supermarket has become one of the most impactful experiences for many during the COVID-19 pandemic. Concerns about sanitized surfaces, coupled with unpredictable supply chains, have resulted in consumers over-stocking in fear of future shortages and a general distrust of the food that people feed their families. A deep and thoughtful examination, however, does reveal that there are silver linings to our current state of being, and one of those bright spots, for those who are willing, is an opportunity to connect more closely with local food sources.
The Cape and Islands are rich in local bounty, not only from the fertile farms that dot our landscape and the vibrant waters that surround us, but also from some talented and creative craftspeople who take pride in offering their products directly to consumers. With a little deliberation and a lot of cohesive information sources, humble shoppers are suddenly able to find and procure food, beverages and delicacies directly from the people who have put their hearts and souls into feeding their neighbors.
One of the most comprehensive sources in identifying the options across the Cape is the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension, home to the nonprofit organization, Buy Fresh Buy Local. The group’s colorful and heartwarming logo, found on stickers affixed to many businesses’ doors and windows across the Cape, inspires a subliminal farm-to-table ethos that is backed up by its members. Their website, buyfreshbuylocalcapecod.org, accurately touts its ability to be, “Your trusted guide to local food.” The guide (complete with information on farmers’ markets, seafood providers, artisan foods and retailers, as well as a harvest calendar) offers a literal treasure map when searching for local, fresh food for your family.
Another organization, the Cape Cod Fisherman’s Alliance, also does a great job communicating about their members and where to buy directly from the fishermen’s boats via dockside pick-up. Their website, capecodfishermen.org, puts the freshest seafood in your hands with virtually no middlemen, from the sea to your plate. If the preparation and presentation is more to your liking, they have plenty of seafood markets in their resources as well, all sorted by towns and regions for your convenience.
Some fishermen are also getting creative in communicating the product and availability of their catch by posting on social media when they will be at the dock and what varieties their daily catch includes. Cape Cod Local Seafood utilizes their group Facebook page to allow local fishermen like Barnstable lobsterman Kevin Conway to post the times and location of when they will be at the dock and allow customers to reserve their order in advance. With almost 14,000 followers, the group’s Facebook page not only puts you directly in touch with the fishermen, but their videos of the fishermen hard at work on the open water and local restaurants preparing the fresh catch in innovative ways helps bring the local food experience full circle.
Chris Garguilo, owner of Cotuit Oysters, put his own personal spin on the special gifts of the sea he harvests 365 days a year. This year, just in time for Mother’s Day, when local restaurants weren’t yet allowed to open for business during Governor Baker’s “Stay at Home” order, Garguilo offered chilled trays of oysters for pick-up at his quaint and bucolic shanty on the banks of Cotuit Bay. Cotuit Oysters are prized and enjoyed around the world, including at one of the most sophisticated international hubs of the modern world: Grand Central Oyster Bar. But, a tray on Mother’s Day, directly from Cotuit, trumps any restaurant’s claim of freshness or exclusivity.
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