Andreas Winsberg is used to growing things. The son of a farmer — David Winsberg of East Palo Alto’s Happy Quail Farms that started the craze for pimentos de Padron in California — he’s been helping his dad plant those prized Spanish peppers and sell them at the San Francisco Ferry Building farmers market since he can remember.
Now, it’s this 25-year-old’s turn to germinate something special of his own.
In late-March, just as the COVID-19 pandemic hit full bore in the Bay Area and shelter-in-place restrictions took hold, he created Farm Box, a weekly curated farmers market box that customers can get delivered to their door or pick up at the Ferry Plaza farmers market on Saturdays or the Menlo Park farmers market on Sundays.
Farm Box was developed by 409 + Co, a design agency that Andreas founded with fellow 20-something alums of Pennsylvania’s Haverford College, Stephen Davis and Jessie Lamworth.
They didn’t set out to do this. But realizing just how complicated buying groceries and food was about to become for people, they rose to the challenge to build out a new web-delivery business to help small-scale, local farmers, whose goods are so perishable, reach more customers.
“Seeing what my dad was going through, and fearing that the farmers market might shut down, was the impetus,’’ Andreas says. “We’re not in it to get rich, but to help farmers and others who need the boost now.’’
At the start of shelter-in-place, I admit I was in a tizzy over all the shortages at grocery stores.
Sure, the scarcity of hand sanitizers and rolls of toilet paper had me a little troubled. But what really got me worked up was the run on all-purpose flour and, yes, rice.
After all, I am Chinese-American. So to me, a pantry without any rice is a very sorry one, indeed.
Fortunately, when I was nearing the last few grains in my cupboard, I managed to find a 25-pound bag of jasmine rice online for a reasonable price. Now, normally, even I, in a household of two, would never buy such a huge bag. But because this was the only one I saw, I grabbed it without a second thought.
Good thing I did, too, because it’s come in so handy. It’s also inspired me to seek out new recipes to enjoy this mother lode of rice, including this one-pot wonder for “Rice with Andouille and Kale.” It’s a recipe by the late-great food writer Molly O’Neill that was published in the New York Times, which she wrote for regularly.
While Rick and Ilsa of “Casablanca” may always have the memories of that magical city they met in, my husband’s and mine will have to wait.
Although I’ve traveled to Paris a couple of times, he never had. This was to be the year that we got serious about planning our first trip to Europe together. But so much for that. A killer virus, planes grounded to a halt, and the unbelievable complexities of going anywhere — even the corner store — put an end to that trip for the foreseeable future.
That’s why discovering this recipe for “Kidney Bean and Mushroom Bourguignon” was such a gift.
You should be — because “Black Cod with Hoisin and Ginger Sauces” is one of those gifts of a dish.
It’s incredibly easy, made with a succulent fish that’s forgiving should you accidentally overcook it, and amped up with a compelling sauce that’s a whirlwind of ginger, honey, garlic, chili paste, hoisin and soy sauce.
In short, it eats like classic Chinese steamed fish with ginger and green onions — but has a much more powerfully tasting presence.
Or you can hand them a can-opener to wield upon tins of tuna.
These days, the latter may be much more practical, given how canned (or jarred) tuna ranks right up there now with toilet paper, disinfectant wipes, and fabric masks, as commodities we apparently most value when we think the world is coming to an end.
If you’ve already had one too many tuna sandwiches or casseroles, then you’ll surely welcome this novel tuna dish into your arsenal.