For so many of us in Oregon, COVID-19 has affected the way we plan our meals and shop for our food. It has become more important than ever to find ways to stretch our resources and extend the life of our food. It’s also a moment to appreciate the enormous contributions of the people who pour in their time, energy and heart to produce, transport and deliver our food and get it to our table.
Here are some simple steps Oregon residents are taking to safely acquire food and make sure it gets put to good use:
Easing the shopping experience
As we try to limit our time in stores and navigate the one-way aisles, it helps more than ever to plan our meals and snacks, make a shopping list and map our route. Shopping more efficiently helps us protect ourselves, other shoppers and grocery store staff. And planning ahead helps to cut the number of shopping trips and ensure we have the food we need so it won’t go to waste.
Getting our food to go the distance
We’re all trying to shop less often so a lot of us are bringing home more food than we’re used to. Making this food last until our next shopping trip can be a real challenge. What works best?
Some fruits like apples and berries, and most vegetables, live longest in the fridge. Others, like squash, can be kept on the counter. Potatoes and onions do best in a cool cupboard-like space.
Also, organizing the fridge with the oldest and most perishable items in front is a great reminder of what to use first.
Making friends with the freezer
Many foods that we don’t find in the freezer section can also freeze really well. For example, when stocking up on extra bread, meats, tamales and orange juice, or saving leftover ingredients like tomato sauce, we can store them in the freezer so they last. We can also freeze the leftovers from our meals to enjoy later. Be sure to wrap food properly before freezing, and if freezing cooked food, let it cool first. And don’t forget it in the freezer!
At DEQ we also want to thank the more than 30,000 farmers, butchers, bakers, food processors and many others who grow, tend, pack and ship the fruit of their labor. And the network of tens-of-thousands of people across the state who then transport, deliver, prep, stock and provide us food through more than 40,000 grocery markets, shops, food banks, shopping and delivery services and restaurants turned into take-out/delivery points.
“The great thing to see has been the team work"
- Rianna Koppel, Ashland Food Co-op, Ashland
“We feel lucky we can employ some people and provide food to our community"
- Michael and Angie Marzano, Hot Mama’s Wings, Eugene
“We have to keep going, keep our employees, feed our customers and support the children and families in our community"
- Lucy De Leon, owner of Tortilleria y Tienda De Leon, Portland