Just as we start to relax the stay-​at-​home orders, lin­ger­ing DIY projects reward those look­ing to stay in their own lane.

Shop­pers lucky enough to have found flour, grains and yeast dur­ing total lock­down were a step ahead.

Indus­tri­ous kitchen bees, with time on their hands, stayed busy mak­ing breads, piz­zas and pas­tas. Pantry sta­ples inspired new ways of putting food on the table.

Self-​sufficiency doesn’t have to retreat. As we find our­selves return­ing to new nor­mal. Why not carve out some space to keep the home made food thing going?

Ambi­tious new­com­ers and expe­ri­enced cooks are ready to tackle home­made jams, jel­lies and pre­serves.

Tim­ing is per­fect with the glo­ri­ous stone fruits and berries com­ing in to sea­son. Cal­i­for­nia cher­ries and apri­cots lead the parade and rep­re­sent the exquis­ite short sea­son of these delec­table fruits.

Small batch recipes dis­miss any fear of not hav­ing the right can­ning sup­plies or know how. Fewer ingre­di­ents are required and nei­ther are gear or gad­gets to com­pli­cate matters.

Read more: We’re Jammin’ →

Straw­ber­ries thrive along California’s coast­line. Between the west­ern ocean expo­sure and the Pacific winds, fields are insu­lated from any extreme tem­per­a­tures and weather.

In 2018, Cal­i­for­nia farm­ers grew more than 1.8 bil­lion pounds of straw­ber­ries. That’s nearly 90 per­cent of the nation’s crop.

It takes a vast, com­pli­cated infra­struc­ture of advanced plan­ning, pick­ing, pack­ing and trans­porta­tion to antic­i­pate and meet world wide demand for straw­ber­ries.

By this time of year, oper­a­tions are in full swing, with the peak of the sea­son start­ing in late April or early May, and run­ning for six to eight weeks.

It is par­tic­u­larly impor­tant for farms, as straw­berry sea­son is peak­ing in the next few weeks, to have a game plan. Because coro­n­avirus is peak­ing at the same time, a large por­tion of the mar­ket for the fresh berries has dis­ap­peared.

Restau­rants receive roughly 15 per­cent of California’s peak har­vest berry crop, accord­ing to the Cal­i­for­nia Straw­berry Com­mis­sion. Most all of them have stopped order­ing strawberries.

Read more: California’s Baby →

Amer­i­cans love to cel­e­brate with food. While it may be still be risky to come together in num­bers, we can use hol­i­day meals to lift our spir­its.

Cinco de mayo bashes dur­ing lock­down orders is unique. Restau­rant and bar fes­tiv­i­ties have always given the per­fect excuse to rally around the gua­camole, chips and mar­gar­i­tas.

Place hold­ers for social gath­er­ings have been shared pho­tos of spec­tac­u­lar food prepa­ra­tions. Warmer weather means a greater selec­tion of Cal­i­for­nia grown pro­duce to uti­lize in solo meals.

Spring tran­si­tion is com­plete for the grow­ing sea­son return­ing to the Sali­nas Val­ley. Salad ingre­di­ents, fresh veg­eta­bles and straw­ber­ries are back on home turf.

With­out the full return of the restau­rant dining-​in expe­ri­ence, retail, take out and meal deliv­ery options are keep­ing us fed.

Salad is stay­ing on the menu. Romaine, spinach, endive and other ten­der greens sup­port every iter­a­tion of spring salad com­bi­na­tions. The base can be sin­gu­lar or blended leafy com­po­nents. We are for­tu­nate to have so many locally grown options.

Read more: Cinco de “Stay at Home“ →

The cur­rent world cri­sis has revved up the power of Insta­gram, Face­book and Twit­ter plat­forms.

We’ve been humored by the cop­ing skills of par­ents, kids, teach­ers and stay-​at– home telecom­muters.

Uplift­ing sto­ries, videos and images lend bright­ness to oth­er­wise dark days.

We’ve seen health care work­ers being applauded in the streets. Fam­ily mem­bers in iso­la­tion have been shown on oppo­site sides of win­dow panes dis­play­ing devo­tion.

Total strangers are reach­ing out with meals, sup­plies and gro­ceries to neigh­bors in need. Good deeds are cap­tured on smart­phones and video cam­eras for the world to witness.

Read more: Stay­ing Connected →

Much has been writ­ten about these stay at home days. Inter­net jokes abound of free snack­ing and mind­less eat­ing our way through the cri­sis.

Also on the radar is the not so funny real­ity about true hair col­ors com­ing to light, post self-​distancing.

One truth is that self care comes in many forms. In the wake of stay­ing healthy, there are mul­ti­ple ways to nour­ish, soothe, com­fort and pam­per.

Tak­ing vit­a­mins and sup­ple­ments is an act of self-​care. Stay­ing on top of daily require­ments is a sim­ple, sin­gu­lar thing that may indeed pro­vide some immu­nity insur­ance.

Main­tain­ing a diet rich in fruits, veg­eta­bles, pro­teins and whole foods is a nec­es­sary prac­tice dur­ing stress­ful times. Stress eat­ing car­ries a num­ber of faults that derail healthy outcomes.

Read more: Self Care →

We mean the film, not the actual day when some crit­ter in Penn­syl­va­nia comes out to pre­dict the weather.

The iconic cult clas­sic is a movie in which the main char­ac­ter, bril­liantly played by Bill Mur­ray, is caught in a time warp.

His guy relives the worst day of his life, over and over. Part of the premise is around the self-​absorbed and arro­gant behav­ior of Phil Con­ners. With­out any con­se­quence, he indulges in reck­less activ­i­ties.

Cut to 2020 and the COVID-​19 cri­sis. Every day we wake up to more dis­mal news, climb­ing sta­tis­tics and what looks to be a repeat of the day before.

The cur­rent spell hangs over every per­son, every busi­ness and every agency. We are des­per­ate to break the cycle.

Stay­ing con­nected with oth­ers is a chal­lenge as mil­lions fol­low man­dates to shel­ter in place. The human spirit is tamped down with­out the pow­er­ful forces of touch, kind­ness and compassion.

Read more: Ground­hog Day →