My kitchen counter is alive with color: bright yellow grapefruits, light green snap peas, red beets, and blueberries that stain your lips and fingers blue. These days, I’m eating better than I did before Coronavirus, thanks to the Tahoe Food Hub. The Truckee nonprofit is a cornerstone of our local food supply, bringing fresh food from nearby farms to our quarantined kitchens.
In normal times, the Tahoe Food Hub connects local farms to restaurants and individuals in Truckee and North Lake Tahoe. In our new normal, where the uncomfortable task of grocery shopping is accompanied by masks and one-way shopping aisles, they provide a safe way to shop for meats, produce, dairy, and even some pantry staples.
Meeting demand with seasonal Harvest Boxes
The Farm Shop closed its doors when COVID-19 hit but that didn’t stop the Tahoe Food Hub from adapting. They quickly expanded their online farmers market: Harvest to Order. The program is similar to a CSA box without the commitment or upfront costs. Instead, when the market opens at the beginning of each week, you can order a Harvest Box filled with seasonal produce. There are two box sizes. The small box feeds 1-2 people while the large box feeds a family of 3-4. There are tons of tasty add ons to go with your box. You add meat, eggs, and dairy from nearby farms and ranches. Or try a frozen pizza from Old Town Tap, sourdough bread from the Tahoe Bread Company or Sierra Bakehouse, and salsa from Red Truck Cafe.
Towards the end of March, demand for Harvest Boxes skyrocketed. The Tahoe Food Hub went from building about 40 Harvest To Order boxes each week to over 200, seemingly overnight. When the online market opened up, they sold out within 30 minutes! By mid-April, after many software updates, they were able to meet the new demand and accept up to 400 orders.
Extra sanitation measures create a safe and convenient setting for your Harvest Box pickup. Employees and volunteers don masks and gloves at the curbside pickup stations. There are designated spots to wait in line, well over 6 feet apart in a large parking lot. And each pickup table is disinfected between customers.
Feeding the community, one Giving Box at a time
When Truckee’s restaurants began closing their doors, the Tahoe Food Hub seized the opportunity to give back to the industry that helped the nonprofit grow to what it is today. They launched the Giving Box program which feeds local food and beverage employees that are out of work or have had a significant reduction in hours. It’s an easy way to give back to the community. You can donate a small box which feeds 1-2 people, a large box for a family of 3-4, or an amount of your choice to help support the program.
Throughout this crisis, the Tahoe Food Hub has been a light at the end of the tunnel. Not only do they provide access to healthy, seasonal, local food, they also serve the community in a vital way. Next time you’re in Truckee, or if you are sheltering in place here, sign up for a Harvest Box on their Harvest to Order online farmers market. Vibrant vegetables, creamy goat cheese, and colorful eggs are just one click away!
*Feature photo credit: Kelsey Murphy