On March 15, 2020, we posted an offer to help any restaurant or chef in need with a box of citrus. Hoping to help them stay open for a bit longer, cut some of their costs, and bring a smile to their worried faces. The response was overwhelming and we were very happy to have been been able to help so many. As the days melted into weeks and weeks have now melted into months of this lockdown, many small restaurants have shuttered and those open are barely making it.
As the outlook for the small restaurants looks bleak, the future for small producers and purveyors is bleaker still. Our spirits were lifted today when we received this thoughtful handwritten note from Gabrielle Hamilton and Ashley Merriman at Prune restaurant in New York City.
This story started when we had received a message on Instagram from Jake Hetnarski, asking us to send a box of citrus over to Prune for Chef Ashley Merriman. Not for himself, not for the restaurant, but for his chef, who he described as the best human he knows.
Hello! My chef, quite possibly the best human I know is keeping Prune open and trying to start a whole takeout system and we’re selling all the food we can for the prices we bought it for/giving away a lot. If there’s one thing I know about Ashley. It’s that she loves citrus. And if there’s anyone deserving of a sweet citric colorful pick me up, it’s her - Jake Hetnarski via Instagram
We happily sent a box and after a missed attempt at delivery, it reached Prune. Some days later, Gabrielle wrote in her piece in The New York Times about her decision to close the restaurant. Saddened by the news, we didn't think we would hear from Prune again but then we received that heartfelt note. In today's fast-paced world, with myriad ways of instant communication, that Gabrielle and Ashley took the time to craft and mail us a note means the world to us.
2020 may well see the extinction of the smaller players in the industry. We hope that Prune reopens and we are able to taste Gabrielle's and Ashley's creations and thank them in person for this handwritten note that will forever be treasured.
To Gabrielle and Ashley: When (not if) you are cooking again, please know that there will be a box of fresh seasonal citrus delivered to you wherever you are. And, we will be sure to include a handwritten note...