When the coronavirus pandemic started back in March, so many of the things we take for granted became downright scary.

One example: Grocery shopping.

That’s when I turned to online shopping with contactless delivery. In Baltimore City, where I live, I was fortunate to be able to use Instacart, which delivered food and household items from my local Safeway without the long waits that some others experienced.

Instacart was a — literal? — lifesaver for me and my family, and despite a $14.95 delivery fee, we were happy with the time it saved.

As time went on, we discovered online specialty grocery outlets and decided to give them a try. So far, we’ve been very pleased with the quality and reliability they’ve offered, and we foresee continuing to use these services when the pandemic eventually ends.

Interested in learning more? We’ve compiled a list of some of the most popular food delivery services.

Please note that this list is not meant to be comprehensive or exhaustive, and does not include meal delivery services such as Blue Apron and Hello Fresh, local restaurants providing delivery during the pandemic and the Baltimore Jewish community’s own Pearlstone Kitchen, a meal delivery service offered by the Pearlstone Center in Reisterstown.

Local

southmountaincreamery.com

Based in the Frederick County hamlet of Middletown, South Mountain Creamery delivers dairy products including milk, eggs, cheese, produce and high-quality meats. The food is delivered to your door on a weekly basis. The best part? You get to put one of those cool old-school milk boxes outside your front door!

hungryharvest.net

Founded by Pikesville native Evan Lutz, Hungry Harvest subscribes to the notion that “every person has the right to eat healthy and every fruit and veggie grown deserves to be eaten.” With that in mind, the organization delivers boxes of delicious and nutritious produce that farmers cannot sell because they don’t look well, pretty enough. That creates a ton of waste. When you buy customizable boxes of produce through Hungry Harvest, you help to save food, water and other resources, and you also support programs that feed the hungry.

heartlandfoods.com

Baltimore-based Heartland Foods delivers natural, grass-fed beef, chicken, turkey free of antibiotics, wild-caught seafood as well as a wide variety of brand name pantry products.

National

butcherbox.com

We’ve been really impressed with the 100 percent grass-fed beef and free-range organic chicken we’ve ordered from ButcherBox. Subscribers can choose from the company’s curated selection of meat and poultry or design your own box. The food is securely wrapped in biodegradable or recyclable packaging and delivered frozen, right to your door.

thrivemarket.com

Think of Thrive Market as an online Whole Foods with better pricing. For a $5-per-month membership fee that is donated to “someone in need,” this online service offers a range of items including organic, non-GMO (genetically modified organism), sustainable meat, poultry and seafood, supplements, home goods and bath and beauty products. It has a large selection of gluten-free, ketogenic and vegan offerings as well.

farmboxdirect.com

Founded six years ago by a New York City working mom who wanted her kids to have the healthiest produce available, Farm Fresh Direct or Farmbox Direct delivers to the Baltimore area. According to the company’s website, “Farmbox Direct was the nation’s first company to adopt the ‘Food as Medicine’ mindset, and by partnering with a health plan, we have successfully created FarmboxRX. This program delivers produce boxes to those who are suffering from chronic and diet-related illnesses.”