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BUFFALO STRONG: No nutritious food is going to waste

Tarantino distributing boxes of half-price food
Posted at 6:39 PM, Mar 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-20 14:39:48-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The food industry is feeling a hit from the COVID-19 outbreak.

Inside Tarantino Foods in Buffalo, the shelves are stacked with food that is usually distributed across the country to more than 3,000 clients in the food service industry. But because many restaurants are not operating during the Coronavirus pandemic, Owner and President Phil Tarantino says about 90% of their clients aren’t open.

“We were not prepared for this, and our customers weren’t prepared for it,” he said.

Tarantino has food being delivered by the day, with nowhere to go. That means there could be a ton of food that goes to waste.

“It became quite apparent that we had to do something with the food,” he said.

An out of the box idea, has landed Tarantino’s food inside the box. The company spent Thursday boxing up any food that could go bad. They’re now getting prepared to do something they’ve never done before: sell it to the general public.

The company is packaging up three different options:
-The Veggie Box, which will include salad mix, lettuce, broccoli, tomatoes and green beans
-The Freezer Soup Box, which will include celery, carrots, onions and potatoes
-The Random Box, which will include a variety of fruits and veggies

The boxes are between $10 and $15 and pre-order only.

Tarantino says they have already sold out of the first batch, and anticipate starting again next week.

“I’m very happy that we can serve the public who need the food,” said John Tarantino. “I’m happy we’re able to sell some of this inventory that we have.”

Despite the pandemic, 99-year-old John Tarantino continues to come to work everyday, like he always does. He says Tarantino Foods is where he wants to be.

Some of the salad fixings from Tarantino’s was donated to Skoob’s in Lancaster.

Skoob’s offered free, hot spaghetti dinners Thursday to anyone in need, no questions asked. It was a planned event for St. Joseph’s Day, but the restaurant owner says it meant more during the outbreak.

Tarantino Foods also adds it has hundreds of cases of mushrooms that it must move. If there is a food processor who needs mushrooms, they should call 716-823-6600.