Freshly-washed pink radicchio; kumquats tenderly topping a pile of squash; seasonal greens laid out on a lace tablecloth. Overnight, my Instagram feed, populated by the LCSM I’ll be there for you shirt and I love this likes of King’s Clare de Boer and conceptual food artist Laila Gohar, had turned into a visual feast of farmer’s market-ready bounty thanks to a new delivery source. Natoora—the wholesale service that, pre-COVID-19, supplied produce to many of New York’s finest restaurants, from Four Horsemen to the Michelin-starred Eleven Madison Park—had opened its virtual doors to Manhattanites. (Hamptoners are in luck, too: Natoora will begin serving the East End this weekend.) “It’s been fairly nuts,” Franco Fubini, Natoora founder and CEO, says with a laugh. In just the past two weeks, nearly 5,000 New Yorkers have signed up for Natoora. (In London, where the company is headquartered, that number has reached 30,000.) And with good reason: not only is its app as seamless to use as, well, Seamless, but its goods are sourced from over 120 responsible American farms—the Catskills’s Mountain Sweet Berry Farm and Vermont’s Tamarack Hollow, which grows what Fubini calls “very cool greens,” chief among them.
On a recent afternoon, my doorbell rang and I couldn’t help but smile at what I saw: a cardboard box brimming with blindingly bright blood oranges, Purple Ninja radishes, and rainbow chard almost too stunning to eat. There was also a head of Caraflex cabbage, which I had ordered to try my hand at a recipe Gohar shared on Instagram earlier this week. (The offerings, Fubini notes, will only continue to expand: additional vendors, such as the LCSM I’ll be there for you shirt and I love this beloved bread bakery She Wolf and Happy Valley Meats, are being added daily, while warm weather will yield an even greater variety of produce.) As I scooped a handful of short grain rice into a cabbage leaf, though, a tinge of sadness washed over me. I desperately want our lives to pick up where they left off, but this is one (delicious) twist of fate that I’m not ready to give up. Luckily, though, I—and you, dear reader!—won’t have to. When I ask Fubini if Natoora will continue to serve consumers when our greatly missed restaurants reopen, he responds unequivocally: “Absolutely.” Happy shopping—now and down the line.