On Tuesday mornings, when their online store starts taking new orders, they sometimes sit and watch as items sell out within minutes. â€œFor a small specialty market in our part of the country, we donâ€™t usually have the problem of not being able to meet the demand,â€ Ms. Bjerke-Harvey said.
Restaurants have often had access to ingredients that their customers didnâ€™t know about or couldnâ€™t get their hands on. Getting a farmer or cheesemaker or winery to grant an exclusive on some obscure, delicious item used to be a considered a victory for chefs.
The pandemic has put those relationships in a different perspective.
â€œThere is this group of farms that relied on us, some of them 100 percent,â€ Dan Barber, the chef of Blue Hill, in Manhattan, and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, in Pocantico Hills, N.Y., said. â€œIt feels like the ultimate expression of support. Then in a moment like this you realize youâ€™ve created the weakest food chain imaginable.â€
To keep cash circulating to the farmers, foragers and fishing crews that depend on Blue Hill, Mr. Barber began selling boxes of fish, meat or seasonal vegetables for curbside pickup. Customers get a grab bag of ingredients both well-known (greenhouse cucumbers) and less familiar (Purple Sword celtuce stalks). Tucked into the boxes are recipes and background on the crops, including the information that the telltale holes in â€œbeetle-bitten brassicasâ€ were left by flea beetles, who have a knack for finding the sweetest plants in the field.
As supply-chain disruptions have caused shortages in commodity beef and pork, meat from old livestock breeds raised on pastures has taken its place in some areas where a few small, regional slaughterhouses still remain.
Grass & Bone, a butcher shop and restaurant in Mystic, Conn., has been flooded with orders for everything from grass-fed ground beef to lamb hearts and trotters. To supplement these cuts, James Wayman, the chef and an owner, also makes items like garlic-rosemary pork liver mousse, pasta sauces, and kits for tacos and burger