By Rebecca Haag
For me as with many of you, food has always been a social experience. Meals are best when shared with loved ones and friends. On this Island we are blessed with so many great restaurants, farm stands, fish markets, and local food entrepreneurs, but COVID changed our ability to enjoy all of that.
During those early months of isolation, I found myself daydreaming about my favorite food spots, and remembering special moments:
A late afternoon lunch at the Outermost Inn, surrounded by tables filled with local faces and enjoying warm tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich.
Sitting at the Beach Road bar with friends, sipping Manhattans and slurping $1 oysters.
Roaming around the WTFM nibbling on Cinnamon Starship bread or a Kitchen Porch popover.
To Larsen’s for swordfish and a glimpse of the setting sun.
Biting into the first ear of fresh corn from Morning Glory Farm.
As the pandemic wore on, my daydreaming turned into appreciation for all of those who worked so hard to feed us under such restrictive conditions. I am forever grateful for their perseverance and commitment. Let me give a shout-out to a few who represent so many:
The entire team at Cronig’s who kept the store running and the food on the shelves even when Steve was sick. They never lost their commitment to their boss or us.
Jefferson Monroe for his Friday Fried Chicken Night; best fried chicken ever, accompanied by inventive sauces and sides.
The farmers who managed to serve the community throughout the winter: Ghost Island Farm, Mermaid Farm, the Grey Barn, IGI’s Farm, and Morning Glory.
Chef Dion, the Artcliff, Sweet Bites, and Albert Lattanzi, who cooked meals for those facing food insecurity thanks to the generous support of Slough Farm Foundation; and the many farmers, fishermen, shellfishermen, hunters, and meat producers who donated product.
Juli Vanderhoop, who turned her bakery into a local store to serve the Aquinnah community.
The staff and volunteers at Island Food Pantry, who continued to find creative ways to get food to those in need.
And finally, the many local churches and their parishioners who continued Community Suppers by converting to a pickup and delivery model.
As an Island, we came together, we served those less fortunate than us, we smiled through our masks to offer comfort and connection, and together we survived. I hope to see you all soon at our favorite food places.
Rebecca Haag is the executive director of Island Grown Initiative.