By Judy Garrison

I made a decision in the middle of March, at the time we all got serious about self-isolating, not to have anyone enter my home and not to enter a store. Being in that risky age demographic, and wanting to adhere to public health guidelines I, like many others, didn’t go much of anywhere. Bless Andes for having supremely walkable Main Street sidewalks, for all the natural beauty abounding on our hills. I have always prepared my own meals, from scratch using fresh ingredients where possible. The preparing of food—and the eating of it—is part of the routine which I count on to shape my day. This became particularly true on these amorphously-shaped days—with no job to go to, no volunteer activities to be part of, no social activities with friends, no trips to the city or to visit distant family. Though, surprise to myself, I have filled the days very nicely, thank you, despite all the gaps and cancellations.

A goal of using virtually every saved meal in the freezer—soups, stews, lasagnas that had been portioned out months ago—as well as some frozen vegetables, was the first line of attack. Then there was the larder: all those cans of tomatoes, artichoke hearts, tinned tuna and salmon. And of course the various rices, Italian pastas, Asian noodles, the quinoa and bulgur. There were plenty of meals to be made from these resources, spiced by all the condiments that lined my shelves.

But there were also accumulating needs that could only be satisfied with outside purchase (yes, the toilet paper.) My neighbor, John Aron, was getting odd-shaped, inexpensive vegetables delivered from, but by the time I applied I had to go to the waiting list. My first local order was for outside pickup from Catskill Regional Harvest, and by then the fresh local produce felt like manna from heaven. I was running out of coffee and the milk I froth daily for that wonderful wake-up latte I couldn’t bear to do without. My daughter, Nola Macek, brought me milk from Clark Farms on Elk Creek, extra Café Bustelo she had tucked away and, when she started to enter stores, filled my list from Aldi’s. My daughter, Maia Wilde, shopped at Price Chopper for me and Tractor Supply for provisions for my cat, Charlie. Misha Meyers (owner of Clementine) offered to do a shopping for me and I accepted. Emily Johnston, with baby Canyon in tow, picked up my requests from Berry Brook Farm’s website at the Delhi Farmers’ Market; June Ruff dropped by unsolicited lovely mason jars of food she had put up. Thank goodness for Dirty Girl Farm and our fabulous Wild Common Wines shop. Robyn from Dragonfly55 Coffee Bistro left the coffee beans and fresh eggs I had ordered on her porch for me, along with a little treat.

My wonderful new neighbor, Anita Lanziero, shared dinners with me and I with her. I would find little surprises on my doorstep such as home baked focaccia and biscotti from Maria Ditchek, a home-made everything bagel from Sally Davis, precious little pastries made by Mary Davis. David Capps, who had been using my upstairs at 75 Main Street to cyber-teach his Hunter College classes, left a beautiful Greenane chicken and wine, among other things. That Russell at Rosalino’s and Zee at the General Store started providing take-out, has been a boon to our area. Cooking for one means lots of leftovers, so I didn’t need to lean on their services, but many happily did. And with the diversity of generosity coming my way, I never had to rely on any one person.

I am now re-entering the Chopper, where it’s fun to be able to fulfill an entire list at once. But it is also gratifying to know that one can stay well-fed in Andes without ever going anywhere at all.~