Root Cellar Diary, Part 4: Filling the Room with Caputo's Produce

Turns out, there's organic, local food everywhere

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By David Hammond

When Rob Gardner, Editor-at-Large of, suggested I shop at local grocery Caputo’s for root cellar items, I was dubious.  Though I’d been to Caputo’s many times, I thought it unlikely that I’d be able to find good quality local and organic produce at good prices at this sprawling grocery store. I was wrong.

Though it’s grown beyond its former (and quaintly charming though too small) location, Caputo’s (corner of Harlem and Grand) is fantastic. I frequently go there before Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner to select from incredible collections of olives, sausage and cheese.

I’d never really thought of it, however, as a place to stock up on local, organic fruits and vegetables at value prices, but wow, was there ever a lot of beautiful stuff there. We took home lots of stuff to put in our root cellar, loading our trunk with Wisconsin potatoes ($5/10lbs), as well as locally grown apples and squash (spaghetti and acorn), all acquired at extremely reasonable prices.

Because we have a relatively big household now -- with five adult eaters – it will be convenient to have a store of basics on hand in the basement root cellar.

One concern I now have is that the smells coming from the root cellar might attract rodents. We’ll see. Fortunately, the converted darkroom that is now our root cellar has an exhaust fan, which pulls out aging fruit and vegetable smells and provides fresh airflow, which I understand to be necessary for keeping stored produce as fresh as possible.

Natural disaster?  Bioterrorism? Zombies? No worries! We’ve got enough food to hold up in the house for months.


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