Grocery store employees are working overtime, and it’s nearly impossible to schedule a curbside pickup or delivery from Austin’s major supermarkets and stores. Local community-supported agriculture programs are full, and one of the biggest local food delivery companies, Farmhouse Delivery, also is not taking on new customers.
Although many supermarkets are hiring extra staff and food delivery companies are scrambling to expand capacity, there are things that shoppers can do, both to help grocery store employees keep up and to buy food and supplies that they need without venturing into already crowded stores.
• Consider shopping at other food stores besides the major supermarkets. Arlan’s, Fresh Plus, Sprouts, Wheatsville Food Co-op, Natural Grocers and international grocery stores, such as MT Supermarket, Hana World Market, 99 Ranch Market or H-Mart, are all great options, and so are Mexican meat markets, including La Hacienda or La Michoacana. Dollar General, Dollar Tree and Big Lots have a sizable selection of shelf-stable goods with some refrigerated items, and so do Walgreens and CVS.
• Austin also has dozens of small markets that are still open, selling everything from pantry staples to fresh meat. They include: Quality Seafood Market, Longhorn Meat Market, Johnny G’s Butcher Block, Stuffed Cajun Meat Market, Dia’s Market, Dai Due, Salt & Time, Antonelli’s Cheese Shop, Thom’s Market, Royal Blue Grocery, Sour Duck Market, Sanford Sourdough Bakery, Great Harvest Bread Co., Rebel Cheese, Rabbit Food Grocery, Con Olio and Second Street Farm to Market in Taylor.
• The demand for curbside and delivery has been so high that it’s nearly impossible to schedule a time from the big retailers, such as H-E-B, Walmart, Target and Whole Foods. To help lessen that demand, you can place orders ahead of time from online companies, including Imperfect Produce, Hungryroot, Thrive Market, Heritage Foods, Butcher Box and Boxed.
• Most Austin-area community-supported agriculture programs (CSAs) are full and not taking on more customers (Farmhouse Delivery is also not taking on new customers at this time), but SnackShare, Loconomy, 44 Farms, Windy Hill Foods, Countryside Farm, Barton Springs Mill and Rosso & Flynn are examples of Central Texas companies that sell local meat, dairy, produce and flour and are still taking on new customers for delivery.
• Restaurants including Epicerie and a yoga studio called Alive and Well are offering grocery boxes that cost about $100 and include produce, dairy, meats and even toilet paper. Following those companies on social media is the best way to find out about their availability and ordering options.
• Catering companies, such as Royal Fig, are also launching online ordering for groceries, including produce, meat, eggs, for pick up and/or delivery. You can also buy heat-and-eat meals through Royal Fig’s website, royalfigcatering.square.site.
• Treaty Oak Distilling has launched an online market where people can buy grocery staples, including meat, bread, produce, cheese, toilet paper and sparkling water, for pickup or delivery.
• Brother’s Produce is selling a 10-pound box of mixed vegetables and fruits for $20, with some add-ons such as milk, butters, orange juice and eggs, available for pick up at a number of AISD schools and at the warehouse at 8024 Exchange Drive, Building 9, Ste. 500. Customers place an order by emailing email@example.com or calling 512-928-0050.
Last week, H-E-B offered tips on how to shop in a way that helps the employees who are working to keep up with restocking shelves and ring up customers as quickly and safely as possible:
• When you pull a product off the shelf, pull the next item forward.
• Bag your own groceries.
• Throw away trash in your cart.
• Return your cart to the front of the store, not the corrals in the parking lot.
• Be kind and shop for your neighbors, if you can.