News analysis: Where to turn when supermarkets run low

click to enlarge Colorado Springs Food Rescue’s grocery program is one alternative to empty stores. - ALISSA SMITH

  • Alissa Smith
  • Colorado Springs Food Rescue’s grocery program is one alternative to empty stores.

Whatever governments choose to do with regard to reopening states and economies, medical professionals like Barry Bloom, Harvard public health professor, and William Hanage, Harvard epidemiology professor are saying we aren’t ready. In a mid-April article on technology website Ars Technica, both professors were interviewed on the subject of the White House plan to reopen state economies, and both said states should not feel confident in following this plan due to a lack of capacity to test people for COVID-19.

“We may have an imperfect picture of the state of the pandemic in different parts of the country because it’s difficult to know if we are measuring actual underlying infections or testing capacity,” says Hanage.

Bloom, along similar lines, says the White House’s reopening plan “assumes that testing will be at a level that at the moment does not exist.”

So whatever might be happening in the governing halls in Washington, D.C., or Denver, people on the ground ought to expect to maintain quarantine until the U.S. greatly expands its capacity to test people for COVID-19. That means that high demand for goods and limited delivery windows at grocery stores may be the norm for some time to come. Fortunately, the farmers and restaurateurs of the Pikes Peak region have stepped up to help meet locals’ needs — and keep themselves above water at the same time. We’ve compiled a list of local businesses worth checking out for your grocery and supply needs.

Bear in mind that this is just a small selection of the many restaurants, buyer’s clubs, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) groups, co-ops and more in El Paso County and along the Front Range. It’s worth calling and asking if a favorite local business is selling any pantry staples or groceries beyond their regular products. Many bakeries, such as Boonzaaijer’s Dutch Bakery ( and The Sourdough Boulangerie (, are selling common household supplies and baked goods. Regional meat producers like Corner Post Meats (, Sangres Best Beef ( and Ranch Foods Direct ( continue to offer meats and other products as they were before the quarantine began. (Click here for a closer look at the grocery supply chain and how it affects local distributors.)

Black Forest Foods Cafe & Delicatessen

140 Second St., Monument, 203-4436,

Monument locals may know that this spot has carried a selection of dry goods, deli products, eggs, house-made bread and soups for some time. To help support Monument during quarantine, they’ve expanded their offerings and now have produce available for their customers. While they don’t have a list of supplies online, they’re responsive on Facebook, and customers can call ahead to arrange an order and to pick it up.

Colorado Springs Food Rescue


For those with limited means, especially those who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19, some of the places on this list may feel boutique-y and financially untenable. Colorado Springs Food Rescue has long been dedicated to keeping food out of landfills and in the kitchens and stomachs of those who need it most. Lately, they’ve been offering a no-cost grocery program to provide produce for those in need. The rescue’s website also hosts a list of food resources (and more), and the organization frequently promotes efforts to keep people fed on their Facebook page.

Excelsior CSA

Think of Excelsior Community Supported Agriculture like a subscription service. For an upfront fee, customers around Pueblo and Colorado Springs can have boxes of organic produce either delivered (if eligible) or brought to one of four partner pickup locations. Also available: eggs by the dozen, or a pound of the “cheese-of-the-week” from Pueblo’s Springside Cheese Shop.
The French Kitchen

4771 N. Academy Blvd., 528-6295,

This teaching kitchen and café has lately been selling a selection of kitchen equipment, baked goods, cheeses, sauces, pastry doughs, breads and pastries — the list goes on, though it doesn’t include fresh produce. It does, however, include yeast, which can be hard to find given how demand has spiked nationwide. The French Kitchen has also begun to sell pre-cooked family meals and sides, as well as cooking and baking kits.

Good Neighbors Meeting House

505 Columbia St.,

Russ Ware and Adeyemi Mobolade’s third space in the Patty Jewett neighborhood still offers breakfast and sandwiches to go, but now they’re also offering a stock of produce, deli items, dairy, eggs and dry goods, as well as beer, wine and spirits. They also offer paper towels, toilet paper and nitrile gloves. Good Neighbors lets customers order online, and they offer pickup until 6 p.m. Look for downtown sister spot Wild Goose Meeting House to open as a corner store soon.

I.C.Bing Cafe & Kitchen


This spot in the Chapel Hills Mall has shifted to pickup orders and special deliveries to supply locals who cannot eat gluten. Mostly, they offer premade baked goods like breads, cakes and donuts, with a few vegan options. However, they also offer bags of their house blend gluten-free flour mix, as well as a pre-seasoned flour mix recommended for frying. Pickup is available at spots on Powers Boulevard, at the Chapel Hills Mall, downtown and in Monument.

SOCO Virtual Farmers Market

Whatever shape farmers markets will take this summer, it’s still possible to buy fresh, local goods. A number of area farms, kitchens and other such businesses — mostly from El Paso County, but all from Colorado — offer their goods for sale at this online farmers market. Customers can place their orders between noon on Mondays and noon on Thursdays, and they’ll be able to pick up their goods the following Saturday at the Ranch Foods Direct Warehouse and Retail Store (4635 Town Center Drive) between noon and 1:30 p.m.

The Warehouse

25 W. Cimarron St., 475-8880,

James Africano’s south downtown dining spot continues to offer meals priced per person, as well as beer and wine, but they too have expanded to offer groceries. In addition to fresh produce, deli goods and baking basics, The Warehouse is also selling meats and fish, loaves of house-made bread, and bone broth by the quart. Order by email or, for zero-contact pickup and limited area delivery, by phone.