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Thoughts from the Pantry

Pivoting our Business

It’s strange how fast it all happened. Back on February 25th when the CDC announced that “Disruption to everyday life might be severe, no one really grasped just how severe it would get. Once Shelter-In Place orders were placed in California, we all quickly realized that life as we knew it, had been drastically altered. We suddenly found ourselves in a movie script where the surreal became real and many were left re-evaluating everything.

Although this Pandemic dramatically affected us, our business isn’t the only one that has taken a hit. Many small organic farmers are suffering because most restaurants and caterers can't operate and are no longer purchasing from them. To make things worse, Big box stores don’t really sell local organics and that’s where people are shopping most. I believe that it is vital to the local economy to spend our money locally because small businesses benefit our immediate community far greater.

Amidst so much uncertainty, we found ourselves re-evaluating the whole situation and changing the way we think about business. We live for celebrations and love helping create beautiful memories. Unfortunately, restrictions set in place don’t allow for parties now or anytime soon. I find myself unable to do what I love to do most; cooking for the community and sourcing beautiful produce. Yet, instead of waiting to see what will happen and wondering if we’ll survive, we are adapting in order to thrive.

I know how hard it is for East Oaklanders to have access to quality organics in this food desert. We wanted to pivot our business in a way that would allow us to help our community. That’s why, We decided to set up a local Produce Pick-up Shop with an online store. There, you would build your own fresh produce box with the available options then swing by to pick up at an arranged time. The farmers will have bulk orders coming to them, we would have a means to keep us busy, and our community of East Oakland benefits by having a source of fresh, local, organic produce, and dairy. It’s a win, win, win! We ALSO get to have a little fun, as we plan on creating cooking videos featuring ingredients available in the box. I’ve always wanted to show people that cooking doesn’t have to be hard, it’s all about listening to your heart and trusting your palate.

Our personal lives have also changed drastically and that too has taken adaptive measures to stay sharp and focused. Jazmin has been a pioneer in our home for mental stability and has motivated me to maintain my mind and body healthy. It’s important to keep a positive outlook in face of this Pandemic. There is always a way to survive and we must be innovative in our way of thinking. In pivoting our business it was essential for us, Cocina Del Corazon, to have a positive impact with our business and still thrive. I hope that you all are staying safe and getting creative and innovative with your cooking as well!

Del Corazon,

Chef Enrique Soriano


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