I know some people go to supermarkets. They choose from three peanut butters, four kinds of cheese, and 20 sugared cereals, and that’s terrific for them. But I’ve devoted my nine years in L.A. to figuring out which stores to visit for each meat (duck place, fish place, steak place, pork place, sausage place, slightly different sausage place) as well as for wine, cheese, salts, olive oil, bread, bagels, coffee, spices, citrus, dates, mushrooms, and chocolates. Grocery shopping takes slightly more time than my job.
I signed up for the AmazonFresh grocery delivery service, not because I’m too lazy to go food shopping but because I am sick of being limited to shopping locally for local food. Now I let AmazonFresh cover the city for me in one trip, dropping off bags with Dungeness crab cakes from Santa Monica Seafood, wild boar bolognese lasagna cupcakes from Heirloom LA, white truffle salt from Hepp’s, a box of blueberry-Earl Grey Fonuts, and a quite fairly priced 2009 Chateau Palmer Margaux from the Wine House. That frees up time to choose dinner guests who will tweet about how I source purveyors better than Suzanne Goin does.
Unfortunately much of AmazonFresh’s produce is unsourced. Yes, it can bring me organic red beets, but grown by whom? That’s why I’m also signing up for Good Eggs (see “The Food Lovers Guide”), the delivery service that lets me select grapes from three separate local farms that I can now name-check (Gama Farms, Burkart Organics, and Cliff McFarlin Organics) and eggs from seven other ones. It’s like that hippie CSA thing where you drive to pick up a huge box of stuff somewhere—only without the driving, the huge box, or the hippies.
OK, so I miss seeing my butcher, my fishmonger, and my farmers’ market vendors, but I no longer miss my friends, whom I never saw when I was spending all day in my car on the way to see my butcher, my fishmonger, and my farmers’ market vendors—many of whom I’m pretty sure have no connection to any farm whatsoever. I, however, now know a lot about a bunch of farmers. Because the farmers come to me.