Rouses Magazine - The Essential Issue

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JUNE 2020

the essential issue

BEHIND THE SCENES

20+

COMFORT FOOD RECIPES PLUS PRINTABLE ACTIVITY SHEETS

LOCALS SUPPORTING LOCALS


Because We’re As Passionate About Coffee As You Are We use only the top 1% of specialty arabica beans, which are small batch roasted under the direction of Felton Jones, who has 25 years of experience with PJ’s Coffee.

www.rouses.com


WE KNOW YOU’RE COUNTING ON US. We have a long-standing history of caring for our communities, especially during times of crisis. From the best price and quality, to contactless delivery and expanded pickup locations, you can count on us, now more than ever. - Donny Rouse, CEO, 3rd Generation

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Voted Best in the World at the 2020 New York International Olive Oil Competition

Rouses Sicilian Olive Oil and Rouses Organic Sicilian Olive Oil took silver in this prestigious competition, which had nearly 1000 entries from 27 countries.


We’re Prepared For Just About Anything That Comes Our Way by Donald Rouse, Chairman, Rouses Markets

My father always preached to me that if we are standing still, we are moving backward, and that is how we have always operated.

It goes all the way back to the first store that we opened in Houma: that when there is an emergency such as a hurricane, we are the last store to close before the storm approaches, and we are the first one to open afterward. We always ask for volunteers, and our team members always step up. And we don’t do all that for us. We do it for our customers. Some of the large chains, I’ve watched them sit closed for three, four, five days after a disaster, and if it wasn’t for Rouses in some of these markets, there would be no one open at all. So I realize how important it is to the community that we are there for them, and that is true for this challenge that we face now, as well. When we got the first inkling of what could happen with the coronavirus, we got in front of it. Our buyers went out and secured truckloads and truckloads of product, of groceries, of meat — right away, we bought over $15 million of meat so that our customers would not have to go without. You walk into any of our competitors, and you will see that they are very low on meat and other items, and in some places, they have none at all. But throughout all of this, we have been able to keep our stores as full as possible. We secured truckloads of every product we could locally, and on the open market in the region, and then the rest of the U.S.A., and next we took it a step further and secured product in Mexico and Canada. Which means when other stores were empty, we had toilet tissue and paper towels and peanut butter and bleach and cereals for our customers, and it also helped us keep our prices fair. That’s very important to us and our business. There are not as many grocers as there once were. When the “big box” stores moved in, they put a lot of supermarkets out of business. I always tell our team that one day it’s going to be us versus Walmart — and we are almost there in a lot of our markets. For that reason, it is very important that we do a great job for our customers. The people at the top of those big boxes are not concerned about the little markets here along the Gulf Coast. They’ve got a bigger fish to fry. Our communities — they are our responsibility, and we are very proud of it. We got a lot of new customers when this disaster struck because we had products that the big competitors didn’t. We are glad to have those new customers and we are glad to service them. It is an honor and a responsibility that we do not take lightly. When the virus first appeared, I got on a plane to see what was happening out there. We’ve never experienced anything like this, and I wasn’t going to sit around and not find out as much as I could! States to the west of us were having more problems, and quicker; I figured I could pick up some ideas of what they were seeing and what they were doing, and we could implement them in our stores to keep our customers and our team members safe. We started providing sanitizing wipes at store entrances, and spraying and sanitizing entire buggies. In addition, our team members continually

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sanitize everything from shelves to checkout counters to the keypads on the credit card machines. We also installed plexiglass dividers in checkout lanes to protect customers and team members. We are the only ones to have installed hand washing stations at the front door of every store. We have them serviced every day. We had seen those stations at fairs and big group events, with the towels and the soap dispensers and where you press your foot down and water comes out, and we knew they would be perfect at our stores for keeping our people safe. Our entire Rouses team is amazing. It has been something to see everyone come together to focus on what we needed to do to take care of our communities. We had smiling faces, people happy to help our customers, and we’ve received hundreds of letters and email messages complimenting our team and how they have handled everything. We are so thankful for our frontline workers, and it is exciting when we can show them how grateful we are for them. You know, it’s quite amazing to have witnessed all this. My father always talked about emergencies. He would come sit in the office and we would discuss what we would do in different crisis situations. This was not one of those things we talked about! But economically, it was. It may be a long time before things get back to normal, but we are prepared to do what we need to do to take care of our customers. We will always do our best to be first, to move forward, for our community.

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STAY SAFE !

Helping You Shop Safely during This Time

Please follow signs and floor markers indicating how far apart to stand to maintain safe distances at checkout. We encourage you to join us in wearing masks or face coverings while in our stores to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Homegrown Since 1960 for your continued support! Many of you have gone out of your way to say thank you to our team members who are taking care of you during these difficult times. Thank you for taking time to recognize them. Your support and encouragement mean the world.

Louisiana Creole Tomatoes are hand picked and delivered straight to our stores by farmer Matt Ranatza of Belle Chasse, and father-and-son farming team Anthony and Joey Liuzza of Amite. Liuzza Produce also grows our bell peppers and cucumbers.

Everything You Want In One Store Get everything you need in just one trip, from fresh food and groceries to household, health and wellness, and pet care items.

Shop the Aisles! You’ll find thousands of everyday low price items that will save you money.


r u o g n i d e e f community

We’re working with local food banks to help children, seniors and low-income families impacted by coronavirus.

#NeighborsHelpingNeighbors

WE’VE BEEN THE GULF COAST’S HOME FOR LOCALLY GROWN PRODUCE FOR 60 YEARS.

You

ill Be!

ays W lw A d n a l ia t n e s Are Es

To our 7,000 team members going the extra mile and working together to take care of our customers during this incredible time of need, thank you. You’re amazing. We are so grateful and lucky to have you!

Safer Shopping

We request that you wash or sanitize your hands before entering the store, and please follow signs and floor markers indicating how far apart to stand to maintain safe distances.​ 2 BOIL PADDLES

ROUSES MARKETS 18 LEMONS

3 SACKS OF CRAWFISH

Need essentials? Let us do the shopping.

DELIVERY & PICKUP Visit www.rouses.com to check availability at your store.


Marketing & Advertising Director Tim Acosta

Creative Director & Editor Marcy Nathan

Art Director, Layout & Design Eliza Schulze

Illustrator Kacie Galtier

Production Manager McNally Sislo

Contributing Writer David w. brown

Photo by Niki Norton Photography

Corporate Chef Marc Ardoin

Eat, Play, Stay at Home

Photo Director

by Ali Rouse Royster, 3rd Generation

Romney Caruso

Copy Editor Patti Stallard

Advertising Amanda Kennedy Harley Breaux

Marketing Stephanie Hopkins Robert Barilleaux Nancy Besson Taryn Clement

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I love my children. Really, I do. I cherish their little angel faces. But they are. Driving.Me.Crazy.

While being close in age is a blessing for my kiddos in many ways (they’re currently three, four and five years old), they also get on each other’s nerves like nobody’s business. They certainly aren’t used to being cooped up with each other 24/7 for months on end so, as you might imagine, there have been epic battles and meltdowns of epic preschool proportion at my house. Since I work in the grocery business, my job didn’t pause — if anything, it was amplified. My husband also works with me, so we were very lucky that our in-home babysitting situation worked out. We made lots of contingency plans for how to handle the situation if anyone was exposed or had symptoms; we set up a desk area in a somewhat secluded spot in our house where we planned on taking turns watching the children and getting work done but, thankfully, we never really had to put that plan in place. (Although it remains set up, just in case. My oldest used the secluded area for a Google Meet Class Awards ceremony just a few days ago to avoid having his little bro and sis crash in.) Honestly, I do not know how in the world we would have pulled it off. Our children are — how can I put this in the nicest possible way? — persistent. They will find you, especially if you don’t want to be found. Now, if you’re playing hide and seek, waiting to be found, they may get distracted and forget about you hanging out behind the curtain. But if you’re on a Zoom call? They will most definitely barge in, singing a song from Trolls World Tour. I’m fortunate that I didn’t really have to learn to juggle homeschool-distance learning with working from home very much during this pandemic. My oldest is in kindergarten and had been thriving at school, so the light workload and the great resources from his elementary school were a fairly easy manage. I’m very “type A” about schoolwork — always have been — and so we had a list, and we checked things off, and we survived kindergarten. (Hooray!) My little ones are in preschool so they’ve been off as well, and they have taken quite nicely to doing arts & crafts in their pajamas. I cannot imagine having to do this if they were seven, eight and nine. Hats off to all you homeschooling parents — and to our teachers! I appreciate you now more than ever!


Table of Contents Cover photo by Romney Caruso

IN EVERY ISSUE 1

Note from Donny Rouse

3

Letter from the Family

4

In Our Stores

6

Eat, Play, Stay at Home

BEHIND THE SCENES by David W. Brown

10

Meeting the Challenge: The Inside Story of What It Took to Keep the Gulf Coast Fed During the Pandemic

22

Rouses Had No Reservations About Helping Restaurants Find a New Way to Serve

28

Our Supermarket Superheroes: On The Front Lines

LOCALS SUPPORTING LOCALS

FOOD & RECIPES 41

Buttermilk Banana Nut Bread

42

26

Local Doesn’t Just Taste Good, It Does Good Our Neighbors in Need: Our Most Vulnerable Neighbors Need Help Now More Than Ever

44

Vanilla Chocolate Chip Cake

46

Blueberry Muffins

47

Chocolate Pecan Cookies

49

Rotisserie Chicken Salad Sandwich Chicken Salad with Horseradish-Dijon Vinaigrette Honey Lime Chicken Salad

Word Searches

65

Hidden Items

67

Spot the Differences

68

Activity Sheet Answer Keys

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which feels like yesterday and a lifetime ago. In between Zoom meetings we made the

52

Creole Tomato Club Sandwich

of our Wine Issue, which was

Creole Tomato Salad Sandwich

planned for May-June, and

53

Creole Tomato Bread Pudding

focus instead on our recent

55

No-Knead Bread Rustic Bread

56

58 62

switched to working remotely,

Healthy Chicken Salad

Do I Need to Quarantine My Groceries?

ACTIVITY SHEETS

It was March when we

51

SHOP SAFELY 36

Vaughn’s Banana Bread Vaughn’s Healthier Banana Bread

by David W. Brown

14

One Bowl Banana Bread

New Orleans BBQ Shrimp

decision to hold the release

situation. Never has the local grocery store felt more essential. This digital issue gave us a way to share some

Spicy BBQ Shrimp-Style

behind-the-scenes from the

Dipping Sauce

front lines. It also gave our

Creamy Grits

team a much-needed sense

Tex-Mex Skillet Cornbread Jalapeno Crawfish Cornbread Crab Toast

of normalcy and comfort over the past few weeks. I hope reading it provides the same for you right now. — Marcy Nathan, Creative Director, Editor-in-Chief

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O

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SEAL OF AP

PR O

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VERAGE

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FA R M -T O C

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LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE & FORESTRY MIKE STRAIN DVM, COMMISSIONER

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MEETING THE CHALLENGE The Inside Story of What It Took to Keep the Gulf Coast Fed During the Pandemic In early March, grocery stores across the country met unprecedented demand as the United States

began sheltering in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This was, for most of us, our first global pandemic, so nobody was quite sure what we needed to get and what we didn’t. Many of us ended up buying a little bit of everything, just in case. As customers rushed stores, Rouses Markets fared far better than national grocery chains because it is a local company with local relationships, and because the Gulf South is no stranger to natural disasters.

The Rouses response gives us an interesting look at how grocery stores work behind the scenes and, in

particular, how local markets support their neighbors in times of crisis. To find out more, I reached out to

some of the Rouses leadership team to see how they helped steer communities through the worst of the storm.

The Start The first identified case of COVID-19 presented in the United States on January 20, 2020. It had been identified weeks earlier in China and was noted for its high transmission rates and severity of symptoms. By the end of the month, there were just under 10,000 cases reported around the world. Early on, corporate management at Rouses had an eye on how the coronavirus was spreading, in part because so many of its private label products — such as olive oil and coconut water — are imported from global suppliers. Also, by watching how other regions responded to the crisis, Rouses could better calibrate its own response. “We all have colleagues we stay in touch with at other retailers,” says Jason Martinolich, the vice president of natural and specialty foods for Rouses Markets. “We were hearing from people where it all started in Washington and then California, and we really got a good grasp of things. They were basically two weeks ahead of us, so we had an idea of what was happening from a standpoint of what people were buying and what stores were running out of. We stayed in contact with our manufacturers, sharing that insight with them, and also working with our distributors to make sure that they were understanding what we were hearing.” The general idea was that, if the virus made its way to the Deep South, Rouses would be able to keep its shelves stocked. Because the company does a lot of importing from Italy, and because Italy was hit hard by the virus, the company was also able to gauge what a pandemic would look like if it arrived in our region. “We were talking to our partners there to understand the things that they did to make sure that manufacturing continued, and to learn how they were protecting their employees from contracting the virus,” Jason says. Because Rouses is local to the turbulent Gulf Coast, it has cultivated practical experience in crisis management over the years. “We prepare for emergencies like hurricanes, so we know the basic essentials that people need in a time of crisis. Of course, we had no idea what social distancing was, or sheltering in place, or any of that at the time!” says Tim Acosta, director of advertising & marketing for Rouses Markets. “When the government started talking about halting

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“Serving our community is what Rouses was founded on. Our team and our neighbors count on us to provide a safe, clean store stocked with great food and household items. We take that commitment seriously. It’s not about doing something new during this pandemic — it’s about doing what Rouses always does, in new circumstances.” — Ali Rouse Royster, 3rd Generation the airlines coming in from Europe and all that, it started getting crazy late that first night, a Wednesday. That Thursday was very busy. And then on Friday, when the governor said the schools were closing, that’s when pandemonium broke out. It was the second weekend in March. People were just buying everything they could get because they thought, you know — well, I don’t know what they thought — that’s when the toilet paper thing started.” Donny Rouse, the third-generation chief executive officer of Rouses, says that when those sales started increasing on Friday, March 13, he knew that life was about to change. “Everything went crazy,” he says. “And we knew this was completely different than what we’ve ever seen with any other type of disaster, whether flooding or hurricane or such. We were hoping it wasn’t going to come down to Louisiana, but we were preparing for that eventuality.” One of the first things Rouses did, says Tim, was go on modified hours of operations. “That is something that we learned from storms. So instead of being open 7 a.m. until 10 or 11 at night, we started closing at eight o’clock at night. This was right after the first week, and that gave a lot of relief to the team members working in the stores. It allowed the stores extra time to get cleaned and sanitized and restocked after that day’s business, and ready overall for the next day.”


As the pandemic began to escalate in the U.S., Rouses quickly reduced their hours of operation, which provided relief to the team members working in the stores, plus allowed needed time for sanitizing and restocking the stores each night.

When natural disasters loom in the distance, the leadership team has a standard protocol, says Donny. “We get our team together. We have a meeting. We make a plan.” He says the company’s procurement teams, which actually buy the products that end up on Rouses store shelves, immediately started calling suppliers and wholesalers they have close relationships with, buying everything the company could get so that shoppers would have the goods they needed. To save time and get shelves stocked faster, they had the truckloads of goods shipped directly to individual stores rather than to a central location. The teams worked relentlessly during the first, critical couple of weeks of the pandemic.

The Supply Chain Customers were looking for hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and items like charcoal and canned goods: things that you could keep in your house for an extended period of time. “It indicated that families were preparing to hunker down and stay safe,” says Jason. “We have certain items that we bring in and store before hurricane season starts. And by tapping into those supplies, it really did help us get out in front of the rush, and it helped the supply chain for our stores when they were getting hit with the extra business.” The supply chain connects the sources of products to the store shelves. As Jason explains, every company and every manufacturer have an idea of how much they’re going to sell of certain items for the

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entire year, and they plan everything based off of that. They plan their labor to make the product, they plan the raw materials necessary to make it, and they plan the logistics around getting the product out the door. Whenever there is a disruption in the supply chain, it throws that plan out the window, and you have to start from scratch and begin rethinking how to move forward. When the pandemic really set in, there was a sudden and, in many ways, unprecedented rush on supermarkets. The preparations to shore up before the onslaught acted like barrier islands along the coastline: They absorbed much of the force of the hurricane but, nonetheless, the hurricane came. “All of a sudden,” says Tim, “you had everybody sheltering in place. The kids weren’t in school. Families were home, and under normal circumstances, people would go out, travel around, get food from McDonald’s or another fast food restaurant, eat at diners and restaurants. But now they were forced to be home, and where do they go for their food source? They go to the grocery store.” The disappearance and reappearance of eggs at Rouses are a good example of how grocery store supply chains work. Eggs flow consistently through distribution channels, from chicken to frying pan, and supply is constant. When demand suddenly skyrocketed overnight, however, the pipeline was depleted. You can only produce so many eggs at any point during a given time period; in normal times, the supply pipeline is full

and consistent. Not too many eggs, or they’ll go bad. Not too few eggs, or shoppers will be unable to bake cakes. When the shelter-in-place directive began, eggs were an item that shoppers bought in bulk. “We scrambled,” says Tim. To supplement the supply line, Rouses reached out to members of the restaurant community. “One of the first things that happened was when the restaurants closed; restaurants have their own supply chain, their own distributors that they work with that deliver eggs and meats and produce and so forth. Once they started closing the restaurants, you had that inventory in a supply chain that was getting backed up that had no place to go.” At the same time, Rouses was doing extra business because people had to feed their families. As store inventories began declining, Rouses team members started working the phones. “Our friends in the restaurant business connected us with some of their suppliers, and we worked something out where we can get some of their products to come into our store. So we had some eggs and some meat items, some steaks and beef, and different types of produce. At that point, customers were just looking for items.” Those eggs, he says, bought the markets a little bit more time, and bought chickens more time to lay more eggs. He continues: “Once you deplete the pipeline, it takes a long time to get it filled back up. The pipeline goes from the farmers raising the chickens, to the chickens laying the eggs, and the eggs are packaged up

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“Because of the connections and the relationships we have with our beef and pork suppliers, we are able to keep our stores stocked up. We are working closely with our partners to make sure we have the variety on hand, day in and day out, through this crisis. No one needs to stockpile meat the way they did hand sanitizer. We’re gonna have the meat.” — Nick Acosta, Meat Director, 3rd Generation

to the suppliers, and they go down to distribution centers, and then ultimately to our stores.” It’s more complicated, even, than that, because you need truck drivers to transport grocery store items, and not just anybody can drive a truck. So the demand for truck drivers increased simultaneously with the pandemic’s spread, and these truck drivers were still bound by strict laws regarding weight and speed and the number of hours in a day they can travel. Truck drivers are essential workers and very much on the front line, and a shortage of drivers can further impair the supply chain. When you deplete all a store’s inventory it just takes a while — about two cycles — to start getting product back. And that went on for a couple of weeks, until about the end of the month. Rouses had to begin putting limits on certain items, and they had to start putting messages out there that the food supplies would be there; that people should just buy what they really needed, and save goods for their neighbors. Some of that came in the form of communications with customers in the stores, and also through messages on Rouses social media channels. “Nobody can figure out the reason for the toilet paper situation, but it was going on throughout the country. But the first things to go were hand sanitizers and soaps, and we weren’t really surprised by it. We knew that would take off quickly. Water too, though we couldn’t figure out why people bought so much of it. My guess is because it was like a hurricane, when you lose power, and I think people just kind of got into their shelter-down mode, buying bread, eggs, some of those essential items. But that has slacked off now,” Tim says. Eggs have since stabilized, according to Tim. As long as no one panic-buys again, there won’t be another shortage. “We are totally caught up, and we feel good about the situation, with the products rolling in. The thing that was different was that this affected the whole country. It’s not just one region of the country that was hit; the whole country was affected. So everybody was trying to do the same thing. But having that experience from dealing with storms, we feel like we were ahead of some of the stores in other parts of the country, whether in the Midwest or the Central Plains or the West Coast. I mean, everybody’s got their own natural disasters that they deal with, but you know…we feel like we were better prepared to handle that, to get the stores restocked and get the right inventory back in through our connections with our vendor partners.”

Local Ingenuity For centuries, communities in the Gulf South have survived disasters like flood and freezes through resourcefulness and solidarity. Because

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When the shelter-in-place directive began, eggs were an item that shoppers bought in bulk. The disappearance and reappearance of eggs at Rouses are a good example of how grocery store supply chains work.

Rouses is part of the communities it serves, it has been able to act as a force multiplier for local inventiveness and ingenuity. “We were talking to one vendor about doing a charcoal lighter fluid for us under a private label,” says Tim. “When this all hit, because the vendor is a manufacturer, he was able to take the technology and equipment that he uses to make lighter fluid, and converted it to begin making medicalgrade hand sanitizer.” Meanwhile, as Rouses started selling out of its hand sanitizer products, and Purell and the national companies struggled to keep up with the demand, that vendor reached out. “We said we’d take as much as we could get.” Unsurprisingly, the hand sanitizer is packaged in a charcoal lighter fluid bottle. “That’s just one story about a Louisiana company helping us address customers’ needs, and he’s keeping his business going, and it’s good for the community.” Another thing that Rouses did for the community was to partner with local restaurants after they were ordered closed, allowing local chefs to offer some of their dishes in Rouses locations. The restaurants prepared the dishes, packed them up, and brought them to stores to sell. Rouses took care to make sure restaurants kept every penny of the revenues from the sales of their food items. “I really wanted to do something for them, to help them keep some income, keep their workers employed,” says Donny Rouse, “and I was talking to some of my marketing team. I thought, ‘Hey, we’ve got Big Mike’s Smokehouse here in Thibodaux. They’re closed and they’re a great restaurant. Let’s allow them to take over one of our deli areas in our store over the weekend so they can sell some of their product. I was just about to pick up the phone and call James Breuhl, our vice president of fresh, when he called me with the same idea, and I said, ‘Let’s do this.’” His marketing team, Donny says, took that idea and ran with it, approaching restaurants in New Orleans about doing the same, and building store-restaurant alliances as far away as Lafayette.


“We’re taking absolutely every precaution to make sure you and your family are safe, just as we have for 60 years. We appreciate that you’re doing the same for our team members.” — Blake Richard, Store Director, 3rd Generation Produce manager Josh Smith was recently recognized by the United Fresh Produce Association as one of the top 25 produce managers in the nation. "He motivates us," said director of produce Robert Ybarra. "He's a person of high character, high energy, he's all about sales, he gets excited about any contest we have, that we put forth. We are blessed, we are thankful, and we are grateful for Josh's contributions to the Rouses team."

“Once this is over, we would like to continue those partnerships, giving restaurants another avenue to sell some of their products in larger markets,” he explains. “How great would it be if you didn’t have to go all the way to Commander’s Palace in New Orleans to get turtle soup? You could buy it in Lafayette, or you could buy it in Mobile!”

The Team Of all the members of the Rouses team who stepped up during this crisis, Donny singles out the frontline employees working registers and stocking shelves at Rouses Markets across the South. “Our team members have been great,” he says. “They began wearing masks on their own, and we started providing extra sanitation for the stores to protect them and the customers. We recently put up plexiglass screens in front of the cash registers, and that made our team members feel more comfortable, and our shoppers feel more comfortable; and that’s what we were looking for. We want to make everyone in our building feel comfortable and safe. Our team members — they’ve been really proud to serve the community during these times.” To that end, Donny says his stores are doing everything they can to take care of the team and the customers. “We’re doing that through sanitation. We’re doing that through extra employee benefits to our team members, all of whom have done such a great job. I’m really

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proud of what we’ve been able to do as a company. We paid our team members an April bonus, and we’ve been feeding them lunch for the last 45 days in our stores. I’m really happy the way the company has come together to support our team.” As a family-owned company, Rouses has unique insights on what families are going through during the shelter-in-place initiative. And despite unprecedented challenges in a fast-moving tragedy, there is some good that has come out of this. “We’re experiencing, in my opinion, better family time,” says Donny. “You know, for me, my kids are riding their bikes more. I’m taking my son fishing in a pond in the neighborhood just about every day. So you’ve seen a lot more kids outside playing in their yards, and it just feels more like when I was younger, growing up, just being outside more. I’m seeing a lot more families do that.” So, some good has come out of this pandemic — more family togetherness, more time spent in nature — and, when you are part of the communities you serve, as Rouses is, you are grateful and proud that you can supply what is needed to keep those families and communities going. Donny says: “As an independent grocer, we can react more quickly than these national chains can. We’re part of these communities. We know what the communities’ needs are because we’re there. We have great communication with our team members across the board. And it’s moving to see our team members serve their communities, serve the customers, making sure that everyone can continue getting fresh foods during these times. We can’t go to restaurants right now, but we want to make sure that we can provide quality products that customers can use to prepare home-cooked meals. This is time for our families.”

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Local Doesn’t Just Taste Good, It Does Good. Consider the hurricane: It’s far off and deadly. It’s probably not coming…not

coming…growing in intensity — but still

not coming…maybe…no, definitely not

coming…well, maybe — wait, no…it’s not

— oh no, it’s here! HEAD FOR THE SUPERMARKET! As it turns out,

pandemics look a lot like that, too. In the

earliest days of this shelter-in-place era, as

COVID-19 washed its way across the

United States, people rushed to grocery stores to stock up on supplies. National

chains buckled under the demand; they

weren’t set up for this sort of crisis. Rouses, though, is local — born on the Gulf Coast

— and for 60 years has thrived here, helping communities through those hurricanes,

Photo by Romney Carus0 ROUSES

freezes and floods. Rouses was ready for this emergency.

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“We always put local farmers, fishermen, companies, restaurants and manufacturers first,” says Donald Rouse, the chairman of Rouses Markets.

Liuzza Produce Farm is owned and operated by Anthony and Lucinda Liuzza, their two sons, Joey and Kevin, and Kevin's wife, Elizabeth. Liuzza Produce Farm has been providing fresh fruits and vegetables all over Louisiana for five generations. Previous page: Chalin Delaune of Tommy’s Seafood in New Orleans works with his father, mother and three brothers. Tommy’s Seafood provides seafood from the surrounding waters of Lake Pontchartrain and the Gulf Coast.

The company has always prided itself on being local, and when you’re up against the big chains, it’s hard to hold your own. But when you’re up against a remorseless global pandemic, being local is suddenly an advantage. Rouses team members from CEO to shelf stocker knew what a rush looked like and how to handle getting slammed. And when supplies dwindled, the local supermarket knew where to go to get more.

The Local Fisherman “As a local company, we are always very conscious of local businesses, and we’ve always supported them,” says Denise Englade, the director of seafood for Rouses Markets. “I’m not sure customers are always aware of how different we are from, say, Walmart or Winn-Dixie or Fresh Market — any of those companies whose corporate headquarters are elsewhere. What they bring in is always really price-driven and not driven locally. Rouses is always ‘local helping locals,’ and we feel that way very strongly in seafood.” When restaurants were ordered closed as part of the shelter-inplace and social distancing measures, Englade got nervous: “We knew immediately that some of the little guys were going to suffer.” Restaurants, she explains, are a big part of the local seafood industry, and those local companies needed a place to move their fresh catch.

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“They’re out in their boats fishing for snapper and assuming that restaurants will be there to buy it. Without restaurants, what would they do? So that was the first time, for us, that we decided to step up. Product was being fished, and we needed to do something.” Englade started calling the local fishermen that Rouses does business with. “I just asked, ‘How are you? What’s going on? What can we do to help?’” she says. “They told us their situation, that their fishermen were basically out of work and being let go, and we were like, ‘Nope — put them back to work. Whatever they catch, we will buy.’” And they have. Rouses partners with local seafood companies in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, buying fresh shrimp, oysters, catfish, tuna, snapper and swordfish — among other things. Since the start of the quarantine, supporting local seafood companies has brought all sorts of specials to customers, on items that range from crabs to crawfish. “Right now we have upward of 11 different vendors, which are all small businesses that are either farm-raising or wildcatching crawfish, and we’re purchasing products from them and selling a lot, both boiled at the store and live in bags.” It’s a long-term endeavor, she says. “Buying these products, supporting these guys…we know that, together, when this is all over, everybody can still be in business, and we can continue to have the best prices anywhere.”


“When this started, our sales team reached out to local fishermen and farmers we have done business with for years and years — not only in Louisiana but along the Gulf Coast — and asked what we could buy," said Donald Rouse. Before his father, Anthony, opened the first Rouses Market, he was a farmer. “I drove many times with him to farms across the coast, and he would talk to farmers and you could just feel the energy between them, and the comfort, and the respect that they had for one another. My father always respected farmers, and he would preach to us to do whatever we could to help when it came to farmers. Buying their produce, and also, just buying local, lives on today.” When the pandemic arrived in our region, that Rouses tradition took on a new meaning.

The Local Farmer “Produce has always been near and dear to us, and we have estabindependent, local company gives Rouses a competitive advantage. lished lifelong relationships with local growers all over Louisiana, and “We can find those niche items that were just going to restaurants out in some parts of Alabama and Mississippi," says Robert Ybarra, the there.” director of produce for Rouses Markets. "This company was founded Local produce, he says, is just better. “There’s that old saying that, with locals first and, as Donny Rouse, our CEO, likes to say, ‘Either when you have a meal that tastes good, it means someone cooked it you are local or you are not.’ We stay true to that and buy as much with love. It’s the same way with local produce because farmers have local as possible.” a real, genuine love for their crops, their product, their seeds. I’ve As the virus started spreading in the U.S., people began buying seen it firsthand, you know, from visiting them. They have a passion food differently, says Ybarra. The demand for comfort foods — things for their product, making sure it tastes good, looks good, is safe. And like potatoes, onions, mushrooms and carrots — skyrocketed. “For love is their secret.” example,” he says, “there was always a fixed amount of potatoes that Rouses is buying a lot of produce that would otherwise have gone we would sell. The numbers really wouldn’t jump up, and they really to schools and restaurants, which means the virus should not affect wouldn’t jump down. It was pretty solid. But man, we haven’t caught any availability to store customers. As for the safety of that produce, up yet with the sales of potatoes since this thing started on March 13. Ybarra says that he has been asked about that quite a bit in the last People are worried about their families, and potatoes go a long way few weeks. “No, you’re not going to get coronavirus from produce,” toward feeding the family.” he says. “Scientific tests have confirmed the safety of fruit and The family meal, he says, has taken on a new significance. vegetables.” He does recommend that everyone — whether there is a pandemic or not — always take Like most other industries, local the time to wash their produce. farmers have also been affected “There are a lot of videos out there by the pandemic, and Rouses has on YouTube on how to properly been working with them to help wash your produce. It goes back get through the tough times. “We to the basics and, for me personhave some special key growers ally, I just do it the old-fashioned with such products as white way: a bowl filled with tap water. asparagus, artichokes, radicchio, Make sure that the produce gets some mushrooms — the stuff drenched and that you clean they sell to five-star restaurants. carefully. I’ve been 41 years in They’re not selling that anymore,” this business, and that’s always Ybarra says. “And so those are worked.” folks we’re working with to find an avenue for their product. And we try to help as many local farmers as we can. We have 64 J.P. Rouse opened the City Produce Company in Thibodaux in 1923. The stores, and we buy as much as company sorted, packed and shipped fresh Louisiana produce all over the we can.” He says that being an country for sale in supermarkets as far away as Alaska.

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Rouses Had No Reservations About Helping Restaurants Find a New Way to Serve James Breuhl was seated at the kitchen table with his wife and kids, scrolling idly through Facebook, when he noticed an alarming pattern in posts by friends in the restaurant business: Only a day or two into the

shelter-in-place order, they were already struggling.

Restaurants operate on notoriously thin margins.

With their doors closed, it was only a matter of

time before the best places to eat across Louisiana and the Gulf Coast — the local restaurants that

give our communities color and flair — would run out of money, and possibly close forever.

“I told my wife, there’s got to be something I can do,” he says. James, the vice president of fresh for Rouses Markets, had an idea: What if we found a way to let restaurants sell their dishes right there in our stores, and let them keep all the profit from it? The epiphany came around nine o’clock at night, but he immediately called Donny Rouse, the company CEO. “I said, ‘Hey, what do you think about this?’ And he said, ‘I had the same thought — I was just about to call you. Let’s do it. Pull it together.’” Soon the entire company was mobilized on the project. “I’ll tell you the best thing about being here at Rouses,” says James. “I’ve been here for 13 years, and when we want to do something, we make it happen. There’s not a lot of red tape. You don’t have to run through a lot of processes or a lot of decision makers. And we’re usually on the same page — that phone call to Donny and his blessing made it easy to get everybody on board.” The company’s creative director soon joined the effort, as well as the food service director, accountants and the company’s chief financial officer — everyone, really, right down to the store level. The idea would be to reach out to as many restaurants as possible, and to make sure every penny of every item sold went back to those restaurants. “The most important thing for restaurants right now is cash flow,” says James. “There are not a lot of dollars coming into the restaurants, so we didn’t want to have our normal system, where you would typically pay someone within 30 days, or something like that. We wanted to be able to give them the money they earned so that they could pay their servers, their waiters, their kitchen staff. We are really trying to keep these people employed. Because it’s not just the restaurant you’re helping. It’s the people that you’re helping.” Within 48 hours of James and Donny’s phone call, the first restaurant, Big Mike’s BBQ Smokehouse, had some of its most famous dishes in the Rouses Thibodaux store. “Big Mike’s is a small barbecue joint here in town — literally less than a football field away from one of our stores — and it’s very popular,” says James. “I’d go to his restaurant during the week after work to eat something with the family, and he’d always be there working, so we had a relationship with him.” 2 2 J U N E 20 20

Big Mike's BBQ Smokehouse was the first of many partnerships between Rouses Markets and local restaurants.

Mike Lewis, the owner of Big Mike’s, jumped in with both feet, smoking the meats at his restaurants and prepping the products he normally serves. He portioned out his plates and brought them to the store to sell. Because Rouses had discontinued use of the warm deli shelves at its stores, those shelves were available to display the plated-up meals. So not only could you get a plate from Big Mike’s, but you could get it as it was meant to be eaten: hot off the grill.

Family Meals, Family Fun

Since setting the restaurant plan in motion, Rouses has expanded its partnerships with local dining establishments from Thibodaux to New Orleans, Baton Rouge to Lafayette. “We’re seeing more and more restaurants come on board with us,” says James. “And I can tell you, every day, through our info line, that we’re getting more and more requests from certain restaurants. And we’re trying to help as many as possible.” The way it works is this: Restaurants prepare their best dishes in their own kitchens. The food is transported to Rouses locations using refrigerated trucks when necessary. Stores have designated areas to display the restaurants’ offerings (locations vary depending on the layout of the local Rouses). With the temporary closure of Rouses salad bars, those units can be used to maintain cold temperatures for foods that require that. Big Mike’s, on the other hand, uses the available heated displays to keep their meals warm and ready to go. The needs of the restaurant determine where the food is positioned. “We designate certain stores for each restaurant we are working with — local places that they are comfortable delivering to,” says James. “So what would happen is that they would go to the store in the morning, they would make their deliveries, they would look at


Customers have been unambiguous in their opinions on the program. “You cannot imagine how many pizza kits we’ve sold!” says Donald Rouse, the chairman of Rouses Markets. “We are thrilled not only about the customer response to Rotolo’s, but all the restaurants we have partnered with.” Donald is proud of how Rouses, founded by his father, Anthony, has thrived for 60 years by being a leader in the grocery business. Their stores were the first in the region to have supermarket checkout scanners. They were the first to add a floral department. They were the first to sell crawfish boiled right there in the stores. And now, in a time of great national crisis, other grocery chains are again following Rouses’ lead, to the betterment of the American restaurant industry. “Two and half weeks after we started partnering with restaurants, H-E-B in Texas started doing the same thing,” says Donald, “so you can imagine how even these very large companies watch us. We are all foodies here, though, so it works out really well.”

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Baton Rouge based restaurant Rotolo's had great success selling pizza kits at 35 Rouses Markets locations.

how much sold from the previous day, and then they would kind of plan that day’s production. We told them: Sell as much as you possibly want. Get after this. And once we designated the store, we designated space to them, and they managed it from that point forward, and that’s worked very well for those guys.” Restaurants really adopted their areas, too — decorating them, installing signs, handling the deliveries personally, stocking their cases according to their own wishes. Rouses, meanwhile, has done its part to promote the restaurants on social media. One particular success story has been the Italian restaurant Rotolo’s, based out of Baton Rouge. Because the company is spread across the same geographical areas as Rouses stores in general, Rotolo’s has been able to get its cuisine into 35 different locations. They even had their own spin on the restaurant-in-Rouses concept, where they produced pizza kits for kids. “It’s really great,” says James. “It’s an activity for your kids to do at home, making their own personal pizza. Rotolo’s has been doing a tremendous job, and we are actually selling a

tremendous amount of pizza for them.” When Rotolo’s pizza kits arrived in stores, Rouses blew it up on social media, and shoppers really responded. One replied to the post: “I can tell you personally, for me, I had my son and daughter, and we picked up the pizza kit because that’s our favorite pizza place. And when we brought the kit home, it gave them a little bit of normalcy in their life, which was awesome.”

The Place in Your Home “I think it was March 16 when we had our last service in New Orleans,” says Tory McPhail, executive chef of Commander’s Palace, perhaps the most celebrated restaurant in the city, if not the entire country. “We started to pivot into trying to do more to-go food, more delivery food. And Marcy Nathan, the creative director of Rouses Markets, calls me and says, ‘Hey, look, let’s jump on a quick conference call. We’ve got some cool stuff to talk about.’” Within one day, Commander’s Palace had the finest turtle soup in the world W W W. R O U S E S . C O M 2 3


Historic Commander's Palace partnered with Rouses Markets to make their coveted offerings available at locations across New Orleans.

available at what were once salad bars at the Rouses location on Baronne Street. Hours later, Commander’s had soup in the Tchoupitoulas Street store as well and, the following day, they were also supplying the Carrollton Avenue and Power Boulevard locations. They were the second restaurant to offer dishes in Rouses locations, and they were ready. “We’ve got this production room in the back of Commander’s, and we just keep that room sanitary, prepped and ready. As we were dealing with other projects around the restaurant, and doing things like taking delivery from the front, we produced turtle soup for Rouses in the sanitary room.” Tory kept an open line with all the store managers so that he could get inventory updates to help him prepare enough food. He and his team ended up making multiple deliveries a day to the four stores they were servicing. With every delivery, the city’s love of the restaurant, and the memories built up over a century, spilled out to Tory and the restaurant staff. “We were very proud,” he says. “Every time we would walk into a store, we’d have our gloves and masks on, and a delivery of fresh turtle soup. And I’d be cruising through the Rouses stores and so many people would just, like, stop me in the cereal aisle and say, ‘Oh, man, this is Commander’s Palace! I gotta tell you my story. I took my grandparents 2 4 J U N E 20 20

there for their wedding anniversary. We did that two weeks before this mayhem started happening — and I can’t wait to get back!’” He adds, “People see this as a little piece of normalcy — ‘man, I want to sit down and have this unbelievable turtle soup’ that took us three days to make. People jump at that opportunity, and we are proud to be able to help them do that.” Presently, the restaurant is laying the groundwork for its inevitable reopening. “This partnership between Commander’s Palace and the Rouses family has just been amazing and enduring,” says Tory, “and it just gives me such great pride to produce amazing, legendary New Orleans food and feed the people of New Orleans. Even though Commander’s is closed, we’re working hard behind the scenes to really get our brand of good Creole food out there again.”

Storybook Bread A character in a Hemingway novel once described the two ways he went bankrupt: “Gradually, then suddenly.” For most of us, that’s a fair reading of how the pandemic has changed our lives. It was no different for Chaya Conrad, the owner of Bywater Bakery on the corner of Dauphine and Independence streets

in New Orleans. “Before anybody really thought it was a big deal, I started putting handwashing signs up, and people were telling me I was being paranoid,” she says. “I really drilled sanitation into my team. Something was happening.” Sales slacked off, but she and her team planned to push on until things cleared. Soon, though, it became obvious that this would not be like hurricane season — a few days down, maybe a week, then you’re back to full strength. Before the city banned all in-restaurant dining, the famed bakery began taking to-go orders only (to protect its workers) but, right away, it was clear that dark days were ahead. “Once we put the chairs up and just went to to-go only, our sales just plummeted,” says Chaya. “It became really obvious that I was not going to be able to sustain my staff on the money coming in.” Only a few days into the pandemic, she made the hard decision to shut the doors, and possibly for good. But we are a community, and three days after she locked the doors, her phone rang. “It was Rouses. They wanted to know if I would bake bread for them.” It was, she says, a lifeline for Bywater Bakery, and allowed her to hire back four full-time employees and one part-time person. “We just turned on a dime. We went from a full-service — where we have


Bywater Baker supplied 250 loaves a day for sale in Rouses Markets, and continues to generously donate a loaf to charity for every loaf sold.

a million different items — and overnight we became a big bread-baking production that only did two items.” It was a neighborhood effort. “We had enough bread pans to do maybe 16 loaves a day, but not the kind of volume we would need to turn out.” No bread pans of the proper size could be found locally and, she soon learned, it would take too long to get them shipped. Help, however, was just down the road. “We have a wonderful neighbor who is able to create just about everything — he’s done a lot of stuff for the bakery, and so we went to him and said, ‘Hey, can you make a pan that’s this size?’” He got to work, she says, and by the next day he had made 18 pans for Bywater Bakery. Every day that followed, he had more and more coming in. “We were able to bake as much bread as we needed. It was pretty amazing — it was a whole community effort to get this going!” For the next couple of weeks, Bywater Bakery focused only on what Chaya describes as a classic sandwich bread in multigrain and farmhouse white versions. “I just wanted something that was comfortable and utilitarian, but still delicious for people. They’re storybook loaves, big and puffy. You look at them and they make you happy. You just feel nourished looking at them.” At its peak, Chaya and her team were turning out 250 loaves a day for Rouses, and ROUSES

once they had it down to an art, the bakery reopened its community window for guests to pick up orders on special. “Once we felt confident that we could keep up with the demand and service everybody properly, we opened the window for a couple of hours a day, just selling a few items. And people really appreciated that.” Bywater Bakery is now open from 10 to one every day but Wednesday. Their most popular days are Friday — bagel day — and Sunday, which is beignet day. “It’s going super well,” says Chaya. “You know, it’s not what it was. But nothing’s going to be what it was. We’re all re-creating ourselves again.” She’s still baking between 150 and 200 loaves of bread four or five times a week for Rouses. “They’ve been so generous with us,” she says, “and it’s given us an opportunity to be generous. For every loaf that we sell, we are donating a loaf to charity: to the New Orleans Mission or to the Second Harvest Food Bank, which has a drive-up food bank on Thursdays and Saturdays. We are so happy to be able to support our community.” She adds: “It’s just…we’ll be forever grateful to Rouses for this. Without that call, I probably wouldn’t be reopened right now, and then I don’t know if we would have ever reopened. Right when I was feeling the most

defeated, that phone rang. I’m just forever grateful for that.”

Keep On Keeping On

Such successes, from Big Mike’s to Bywater Bakery, have gone beyond James Breuhl’s and Donny Rouse’s wildest dreams. “You know, for us it was just about doing the right thing. Local culture is so strong here, and we wanted to keep those local restaurants going. I’ve been with Rouses for a long time, and what we’re famous for is asking: Can you buy it locally? That’s usually the first question that I ask anytime we’re buying something, because if I can buy it local first, that’s what I’m doing," said James. “How can we use our stores to help keep restaurants and their people afloat?” he thought to himself after perusing posts on Facebook. And now Rouses has the answer. So far, the company has raised nearly $200,000 for restaurants and, as the pandemic continues, that number — a rare, good one — continues to grow.

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OUR NEIGHBORS IN NEED Our Most Vulnerable Neighbors Need Help Now More Than Ever For more than a decade, Rouses Markets has partnered with local food banks to provide

goods for those in need and, in time of crisis, has doubled its efforts to keep the community fed.

Historically, those crises have been things familiar to anyone along the Gulf Coast: hurricanes

and floods. Global pandemic is a new one, but

The first donation of the Rouses effort was 14,000 pounds of potatoes, purchased at a steep discount, and donated to Louisiana food banks.

the Rouses response has been no less robust.

“As soon as this started happening,” says Michael Westbrook, the deli, cold cuts and sushi director for Rouses Markets, “we jumped on it. We knew there would be economic hardship, and that food banks and local pantries would really get strained.” Westbrook, who is leading the company effort to keep those food pantries stocked, has been at it from the moment COVID-19 presented itself in the community. He has made it his mission to work with food banks in New Orleans, Mobile and Baton Rouge, to find out the needs of each of those communities, and then with store vendors, to find food to keep bellies full. “We’re trying to do our best to help out our local community,” he says. “The Rouse family really thinks in that manner. They know that we’re going to donate goods, but they ask us to reach out to our vendor partners to see if those companies can support our community locally, also.”

Tyson Foods and Smithfield Farms generously donated 125,000 pounds of food to the Rouses community.

Putting Food in the Bank Grocery stores buy their products from vendors — companies like Tyson Foods, which sells chicken, and Smithfield Foods, which sells pork. Vendors oftentimes have programs in place for donating to their own local food banks. Sometimes it’s near the facility where their product is made. A vendor in Kansas, for example, will donate to the needy in Kansas. But larger manufacturers have programs where, when disasters strike, retailers like Rouses can reach out and ask for donations to affected communities, wherever they are. Westbrook tapped into those programs and has been working with other Rouses vendors to help them establish relief initiatives of their own. “We are part of the community, and we want to take care of our community as much as we can,” he says. “Honestly, I just started calling vendors, asking, you know, what kind of program do you have? Do you have any product in excess? Is there any type of donation you can do?” And the response, he says, has been extraordinary. “All the vendors have been very happy to work with us.” The first donation of the Rouses effort was 14,000 pounds of potatoes. One Rouses partner was overwhelmed with mountains of potatoes and with nowhere to sell it. “As much as I could use it in the deli, I couldn’t use 14,000 pounds of it!” Westbrook got approval from his superiors at the company, purchased the potatoes at a steep discount, and gave them to Louisiana food banks. The mandatory ban on sit-down dining has devastated the restaurant industry, and that has in turn affected restaurant suppliers as well. 2 6 J U N E 20 20

Shoppers who want to help donation efforts should look into the Rouses brown bag program, which offers the opportunity to purchase $5 or $10 prepacked grocery bags for Second Harvest Food Bank.


Products not normally available for donation, Westbrook discovered, were now in great supply, and he started dialing. “We’ve gotten produce for some local hospitals,” he says. “We’ve gotten those potatoes. Smithfield Foods donated 45,000 pounds of food.” In mid-April, Tyson Foods made the biggest donation to the Rouses community so far. “Tyson donated 80,000 pounds of fresh chicken,” he says. “We’re up to 138,000 pounds of food donated in the last couple of weeks, and we expect more.” Part of Westbrook’s job has been coordinating the effort. You can’t just roll up to a pantry with 80,000 pounds of food, after all. “Probably once a week, I talk to the food banks. We stay in close contact. For something like Tyson’s generous donation, my first concern was, wow, I don’t even know if they can handle 80,000 pounds of fresh chicken. That’s something that only has a certain amount of shelf life.” To get food where it’s needed, Westbrook works with food banks, learning their capacities and capabilities. And when the food banks let him know where they can handle it — they can take a truckload here, they can take another truckload this day — Westbrook makes sure the trucks and supplies are where they are supposed to be, and at the proper times. “We’re working in conjunction [with them] to make sure, obviously, they can use all the foods that we’re getting them. And that’s been fantastic. As soon as we find a vendor that says yes, then we’re reaching out as quickly as we can to the food bank and saying, okay, here’s the type of product they have. Here’s how much they have. Can you take it in?” When food banks are full, Westbrook calls around to different areas to place it. “We’re going to find somebody to take that product,” he says. In most cases, the vendors personally deliver their products to the food banks. Companies like Tyson and Smithfield already have highly effective trucking operations and are able to carry their products directly to food banks. For companies who cannot deliver, however, Rouses has its own fleet of trucks to bring the food where it is most needed. Westbrook is looking at how else Rouses can help smaller vendors donate what they can. “Maybe they don't have a full truckload of product; maybe they have, you know, full pallets of product. The question is, how do we get that product distributed?” He’s also looking at how to help more, smaller food pantries across the Gulf Coast.

An Enduring Partnership of Generosity Over the years, Rouses has worked most closely with Second Harvest Food Bank in New Orleans, and has serviced the Baton Rouge, Mobile and New Orleans areas. “Second Harvest can take our donations and is set up, also, to give to other food banks and pantries as well — almost like a distribution center for other areas,” Westbrook explains. The relationship between Rouses and Second Harvest has made this high-stakes project in this critical time a lot easier than it might otherwise have been. “Rouses has been a vital partner with us for over a decade now,” says Emily Slazer, the food sourcing manager for Second Harvest. “They support us in many ways, year-round, including a very successful and very helpful food drive program that runs in their stores, where customers can purchase a premade bag of shelf-stable pantry items — things like canned tuna, peanut butter, canned soup, canned vegetables — and can place it in a collection barrel right there in the store. So that’s a huge help and a great, consistent source of dry food. They also run a campaign at the register where customers can make a financial contribution that we then use to purchase food. We’ve been

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fortunate to partner with Rouses, and they support us in many other ways, with special events and things like that.” She says Rouses also regularly arranges large, special donations during times of disaster. Second Harvest Food Bank covers a 23-parish service area across South Louisiana, leading the fight against hunger in the state. They work hard to ensure food access and security for the community through education, outreach, advocacy, food distribution and disaster response. “We partner with hundreds of organizations throughout South Louisiana to distribute food to community members who are struggling with hunger,” she says. In Louisiana, one in six people faces hunger — a figure higher than the national average of one in eight. “Right now,” says Slazer, “we are in full disaster response mode, responding to the spread of COVID-19.” To that end, Rouses Markets, she says, has been “a wonderful partner to us. They’re always there offering support — whatever we need, and when we need it most. They reached out to us mid-March, offering a large donation of products that we were able to use in our kitchen for meal preparation. They’ve arranged several full truckload donations following that, just in the span of about six weeks. They’ve already given us so much support and help, trying to secure the types of donations that we most need.” She mentions the truckloads of fresh and frozen meats from Tyson and Smithfield, noting that such proteins are always a big need for food pantries. “They’re really wonderful about understanding our work and what our needs are. And they’re such fantastic partners because they really care about how they can do the most good with their donation.” Slazer says that shoppers who want to help donation efforts should look into the Rouses brown bag program. “It is a really helpful and convenient way to donate — now more than ever.” A basic bag is five dollars, she says, with some stores offering a 10-dollar bag. “It’s very affordable, and it’s food items that we can really use. It’s a really wonderful source of donated dry food.” The need for food banks and pantries is growing tremendously as people lose their jobs, and with few signs of a recovery in sight. “The support of our community makes all the difference in our ability to help people who don’t have enough to eat,” says Slazer. Rouses, meanwhile, has given Michael Westbook all the time he needs to take care of the local community. It’s part of his job, now. “That doesn’t happen with every company,” he says. “It’s the great thing about working for a family-run business and being part of the community.” And he is quick to credit the company’s partner vendors for all they have done for the recovery effort. “We’re doing our part by making the phone calls and trying to arrange it all, working with our local food banks, but in the end, it’s about the vendors stepping up to the plate.”

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On the Front Lines It has been a hundred years since the world has faced anything like the coronavirus

and, for many of us, life during this pandemic has been about comfort and boredom. We’re tired of Netflix, we want haircuts. This mask fogs up my glasses, and I’m tired of washing my hands. For the essential workers of Rouses Markets, however, this

is more than an inconvenience or a once-a-century news story; it’s something they

are living. They are on the front lines of this thing, greeting shoppers, scrubbing and stocking shelves, disinfecting carts and scanning items. They are keeping our towns going and our families fed. For all of us, they are true supermarket superheroes.

“We couldn’t be more proud of our team,” says Lee Veillon, the director of human resources for Rouses. “In a time of chaos, our team members have come together to help each other and to take care of the community. They are on the front lines every day, and we are very appreciative and thankful for them.” As the pandemic spread across the United States, Rouses had to keep close tabs on its progress and plan for the worst. They did this not only for their customers, who they knew would want to stock up on food and supplies, but also for their employees. With nearly 7,000 team members working at 64 locations, Rouses Markets is one of the largest employers on the Gulf Coast. Taking care of its people was a top priority of the company and, by working with other grocery stores across the country, Rouses was able to learn what other frontline workers were encountering, and find innovative ways to protect customer and employee alike. “There was a big learning curve,” says Veillon. “Our executive team met and we brainstormed, made a list, writing down anything we could think of that would be important for protecting our workers.” Masks, he says, were hard to come by until recently. “We had tried to purchase them

twice before.” But by leveraging its contacts with suppliers, the company was successful in staying ahead of the demand for hand sanitizer and disinfectants. The company has followed guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on how best to keep everyone in every Rouses location safe. Following CDC guidance has been a lot like tracking hurricanes with the National Weather Service, Veillon says. “Every time we put a plan in place, it seems like the next day, new guidelines come down. We constantly monitor it. I’m always changing something!” Still, the stores have managed to exceed recommendations. You might have noticed the plexiglass panels separating customer and cashier that help keep them both safe.

“The CDC recommends six feet of space between people for social distancing, and because the checkout is one of the places that you would be within a six-foot radius — it’s just the way the registers are situated — we tried to figure out some sort of protective barrier,” he says. Plexiglass panels were the best solution, but the challenge then was figuring out how to implement them. Because Rouses has grown over the years — built stores differently and acquired others that were already set up a certain way — there were no one-size-fits-all solutions. Until they looked up. “The stores are all set up a little bit differently,” says Veillon, “but one thing that is consistent is that they all have ceiling tiles, and that’s where the idea came for stringing cables from the ceiling grid. It looks clean, it’s different, and it allowed us to make it work across the board regardless of the style of register.” Taking care of customers and the heroes working the front lines has been about more than disinfecting the credit card scanners after every transaction. For months now, Rouses has provided a daily lunch for all team members at no cost. All employees were given an additional paid holiday

“I am always proud of our team at Rouses, but especially in trying times like hurricanes and floods, and now during this pandemic. In all the uncertainty around us, #TeamRouses shows up with smiles on their faces and gets to work serving our neighbors. It’s what we do as a community, it’s what we do as a family, and it’s what we do at Rouses.” — Ali Rouse Royster, 3rd Generation

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for Easter so that they could spend time with their families. The company has even rolled out a program through a partnership with Ochsner Health, the largest nonprofit healthcare system in Louisiana, through which employees can get telemedicine and therapy visits. All team members also got a “Thank You” bonus check in April. It is a bonus that is well-deserved, says Robert Ybarra, the director of produce for Rouses Markets. “I’ve been in the grocery business since 1981, and I know that the typical grocery worker is a first responder — and has always been a first responder — in everything from storms to this,” he says. “We’ve always been out there on the front lines meeting customers, taking care of customers, servicing customers. People don’t really think of a grocery store worker as a frontline type of person, like a fireman or a policeman, but I’ll tell you what: I have gained so much respect for the grocery employees out there each and every day.” He adds, “I can’t tell you how proud I am of the Rouses team members, just stepping up, being there every day, going to work every day, and being friendly the Rouses way. It gives me goose bumps to be a teammate to the brave Rouses folks out there and all over our great company, all 64 stores. I mean, just a bunch of heroes.”

When the pandemic arrived, that heroism is one reason why Rouses became the center of the community. “It is a responsibility that we take on every time a hurricane comes to one of our markets,” says Donny Rouse, the company’s chief executive officer. “We always want to be there to provide for our customers. As independent grocers, we can react more quickly than national chains because we are part of our communities. We know what our communities need because we are there. And our team members enjoy serving the community. They’re excited to be out there, servicing our customers, making sure that they can continue getting fresh foods in these times.” It has been a long shelter-in-place, and we are not out of this thing yet. But it’s reassuring to know that some real-life superheroes are here to keep us safe. “So many of our customers have gone out of their way to say ‘Thank you’ to our amazing team at Rouses, who have been doing what they always do: serving our community with a smile, says Ali Rouse Royster. “We cannot express enough how much these kind words mean to us. You might not see our smiles behind our masks right now, but know that they’re always there!”

“One of our Lafayette assistant store directors was concerned about ‘his’ elderly customers who couldn’t shop due to poor health and an inability to work the online shopping options. He started calling them up and asking them what they needed. He dropped the groceries by their houses when he got off work and, in between deliveries, would check on them to make sure they were OK.” — Steve Black, President & COO, Rouses Markets

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s e o r e h r e p u S t e k r a #Superm

Customer feedback is always appreciated! Many shoppers have gone out of their way to say "Thank you" to the amazing team at Rouses.

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You Can’t Fake Cajun! Our boudin, andouille, fresh and smoked sausages, and stuffed meats are made with Rouse Family Recipes that go back three generations.

www.rouses.com


Makes Every Salad Taste Great. We’ve combined our unique Louisiana flavors with the Best Selling Salad Dressing flavors to bring “Joie de vie” (the Joy of Life) back to salads.

Makes Every Salad Taste Great. We’ve combined our unique Louisiana flavors with the Best Selling Salad Dressing flavors to bring ”Joie de vie” (the Joy of Life) back to salads.

All seasoned with our Famous Creole Seasoning Blends.



WE GREW UP BOILING ON THE BAYOU Our Rouses recipe has been perfected over three generations, so our seafood always comes out seasoned to perfection. Get it hot from the pot in our seafood department.

Family Owned Since 1960


Do I Need to Quarantine My Groceries? and Other Questions... WE GET THAT THIS IS A STRESSFUL TIME TO GO GROCERY SHOPPING. WE TALKED TO DR. FALGUNI PATEL OF LCMC HEALTH ABOUT HOW TO SHOP FOR GROCERIES DURING CORONAVIRUS. HERE’S HER ADVICE.

If the person next to you isn’t wearing a mask or doesn’t seem to be taking social distancing as seriously as you are, what do you do? Social distancing seems to be a misnomer, when what we are really being asked to do is to maintain physical distancing of six feet. We can still be social with each other. In fact, the act of being socially kind, compassionate and patient has perhaps never been more important or necessary. Taking responsibility for your own behavior and making sure you are wearing a mask and practicing the act of physical distancing are the most important steps. There may be health reasons or other reasons for a person not wearing a mask that you don’t know about, but the act of staying six feet away from others in public is a practice more reasonably expected and

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that likely wouldn’t be affected by health factors. In these stressful days, it is important to keep in mind that you do not know a person’s mindset — particularly a stranger’s. People are experiencing a range of emotions that, in many cases, are new to us all. For that reason it is best to avoid confrontation and, instead, just act responsibly and practice physical distancing, and wear a mask when it is required and especially if it makes you feel safer.

Why you shouldn’t take it out on the cashier or other grocery store workers. In this time of the pandemic, grocery store employees are deemed essential — they’re on the public front lines, and in a few cases are becoming infected with the virus themselves. These people deserve our gratitude for going to work and helping to provide food and other products to the public.


Rather than taking your frustration out on these hardworking people, share a message of gratitude with them. Thank them for wearing masks and gloves. Take a moment to thank store management as well, for keeping their doors open and helping us all get the things we need. Making that moment a positive experience can lift your own spirits too.

Do I need to disinfect my groceries? Many people worry about the possibility of picking up the coronavirus from things like grocery store conveyor belts or cereal boxes. Experts agree that the biggest risk when it comes to groceries is being inside the store itself with other people who may be infected. If you really want to wash your groceries, perhaps because it somehow lessens your anxiety, don’t use disinfecting spray or wipes. It might be wise to stick to soap and water. Rinse your produce and vegetables in water, too, and remember to keep eating them, as staying healthy and maintaining a good diet are important for maintaining good health throughout these stressful times. And wash your hands when you return home from shopping, and continue washing your hands frequently throughout the

Dr. Jennifer L. Driver, MD, Primary Care, LCMC Health, also says...

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day, whether you are grocery shopping or working from home.

What are your tips to shop safely? Practicing safe shopping can include: Wearing a mask in the store and choosing a store like Rouses Markets that encourages everyone (employees and shoppers) to do so. Focusing on getting in and out as fast as possible to minimize your risk. Sanitizing the cart handle and your hands. Carry sanitizing wipes with you in case the store is not providing them at the entrance, or if their supply runs out. Going to the grocery store alone if you can. Bringing family members shopping will only crowd the aisles and potentially raise your household’s risk of infection. Choosing no-touch payment if you can. Swiping a credit or debit card eliminates having to exchange cash. Giving the checkout cashier some room. Respect their space as you’d like them to respect yours.

Is it better to wear gloves while shopping?

entering, and washing your hands often. If stores have hand-sanitizing stations throughout the store, take advantage of the opportunity to use them throughout your shopping experience.

Can I get the virus from prepared foods? Prepared food that is well-packaged will not spread the virus. However, dining from buffets is discouraged, as the serving utensils used by everyone and the so-called protective face shields are ineffective at avoiding the spread of germs.

How often do I need to disinfect my phone, and how do I do it? It is important to clean a phone regularly, but not after every use. It is more important to wash your hands. Research which method — wet towel or disinfecting wipes — works best for you, depending on the make and model of your phone. And if you or someone close to you sneezes or coughs near your phone, you should wipe it down immediately.

Experts agree that gloves are not necessary while shopping. What is more important is sanitizing your hands and the cart before

If you are planning to have your groceries from Rouses Markets delivered with Instacart or Shipt, you can make payment without direct contact with another person. You can even leave a tip that way.

You should have the delivery person leave your groceries on your doorstep or porch, and you can retrieve them once the deliverer has stepped away. As always, wash your hands after unloading your delivery.

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If our name is on the label you know it’s good

HOUSE AD

Every Rouses Markets private label food item has been personally tasted by the Rouse Family and is guaranteed to deliver the best quality at the best price.

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THE ART OF ITALIAN FLAVORÂŽ From the tomato farms of Italy straight to your table, we bring the taste of homemade-style pasta sauce to the Botticelli line of products. Using 100% Italian tomatoes of the highest quality, we produce our pasta sauces from scratch in small batches, mixing in our special blend of spices to ensure a rich, homemade-style flavor.


In stressful times, we all crave comfort food. But no matter how much you love banana bread, making it the same way over and over gets, well, repetitive. Here’s how you can give comfort foods — and convenience foods — a new look and new taste.

Photo by Romney Carus0 4 0 J U N E 20 20


One-Bowl Banana Bread Makes 1 loaf Quick and simple to make, and no mixer is required! This recipe is also great for mini loaves and muffins. Use two 5¾" x 3" mini loaf pans instead of an 8" x 4" loaf pan. Fill the pans no more than ²/₃ full, and bake for 20 to 30 minutes at the same temperature. If you’re using a muffin tin, bake for 18-20 minutes. WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 3 very ripe bananas ¹/₃ cup melted butter, unsalted or salted 1 teaspoon baking soda Pinch of salt ¾ cup sugar 1 large egg, beaten 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1½ cups all-purpose flour

Buttermilk Banana Nut Bread Makes 1 loaf Buttermilk makes this banana bread extra-moist. To make an easy substitute for buttermilk, mix 1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice into 1 cup of milk for each cup of buttermilk a recipe calls for. Let the milk stand for 10 to 15 minutes, until it thickens very slightly and curdles. WHAT YOU WILL NEED: ¾ cup butter, softened 1½ cups sugar 3 medium ripe bananas, mashed 2 eggs, well beaten 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda ¾ teaspoon salt ½ cup buttermilk ¾ cup chopped pecans or walnuts HOW TO PREP: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease and flour a 9" x 5" loaf pan.

HOW TO PREP: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter an 8" x 4" loaf pan, or grease it with nonstick spray.

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Add bananas, eggs and vanilla extract to the mixture, and combine until the batter is well mixed.

In a mixing bowl, mash the bananas with a fork or potato extruder until completely smooth. Add the melted butter and stir. Add the baking soda and salt, and stir until just incorporated.

Sift flour into a separate bowl; add baking soda and salt to the bowl and mix. Alternate adding the dry mixture and the buttermilk to the banana mixture, stirring thoroughly after each addition. Add the nuts and mix well to incorporate.

Stir in the sugar, beaten egg and vanilla extract. Mix in the flour. Beat well and scrape down the sides of the bowl. (If the batter seems too thick, add a few tablespoons of water or milk.)

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for about 90 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Give the pan a good rap on the counter to help remove any air bubbles. Bake for about 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean. Rotate the pan periodically during baking for even browning.

Chocolate chips, chopped nuts and fruits such as cranberries, blueberries and raisins are classic mix-ins to banana bread. The ratio is the same for each — mix in ½ to ¾ cup of your chosen add-in to the batter just before transferring the batter to the loaf pan. Even with add-ins, the baking time should stay about the same.

Remove from oven and let the bread cool in the pan for a few minutes. Remove the banana bread from the pan and let cool completely before serving.

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Our customer Vaughn Carrier Downing submitted two of her favorite recipes. “I created the banana bread recipe probably around 2002. I had several cookbook recipes for banana bread, but I didn’t have all of the right ingredients on hand to create any one of the recipes correctly. So, I used what I had and added a few things, and liked the result. My family loves it, and I often drop loaves off to friends going through challenging times. While the original recipe is delicious, there’s nothing healthy about it, so recently I started looking for ways to lower the sugar content while still creating something my family would enjoy. The healthier version omits the pudding and milk in favor of Greek yogurt, substitutes monk fruit sugar (which has a lower glycemic index) for cane sugar, and uses more bananas for extra moistness. The texture is different so it doesn’t toast as well, but it still gets eaten quickly in our house. My family enjoys the original banana bread toasted, with butter, peanut butter or almond butter on top for an added treat.”

Vaughn's Banana Bread Makes 1 loaf

Vaughn's Banana Bread (The Healthier Version) Makes 1 loaf

WHAT YOU WILL NEED: ½ cup canola or other vegetable oil 1 cup sugar 2 eggs, beaten 3 well-ripened bananas, mashed 2 cups flour 1 teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon baking powder ¼ teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon cinnamon, for garnish 1 teaspoon sugar, for garnish 1 small package vanilla instant pudding 3 tablespoons milk ½ tablespoon vanilla Pam Cooking Spray, to oil pans

WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 2 eggs, beaten 1/2 cup canola or other...oil 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt 3/4 cup monk fruit sugar 6 well-ripened bananas 2 cups flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 for garnish 1 teaspoon sugar, for garnish 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract Pam Cooking Spray, to oil pans

HOW TO PREP: Preheat the oven to 350°F.

HOW TO PREP: Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Beat eggs in a large mixing bowl; add bananas and mix to incorporate. Add oil and sugar, and mix well.

Combine eggs, oil, yogurt and monk fruit sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add bananas and vanilla extract, and mix to incorporate.

Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add this dry mixture to first mixture along with pudding mix, milk and vanilla. Mix well till a batter is formed.

Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon in a separate bowl. Add to first mixture, and combine until a batter is formed.

Spray two large loaf pans with Pam, then sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Pour half of the batter into each pan. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top of each loaf, and bake for 45 minutes. Begin checking bread every 5 minutes after that until tops of loaves are browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Spray two large loaf pans and one small loaf pan with cooking spray, then sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

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Divide the batter between the three pans. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top of each, and bake for 45 minutes. Begin checking bread every 5 minutes after that until tops of loaves are browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.


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Vanilla Chocolate Chip Cake Makes 1 cake WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 1 package yellow cake mix 1 package (3.4 ounces) vanilla instant pudding mix 1 cup vegetable or canola oil 1 cup milk 4 eggs 1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips 3 tablespoons grated German sweet chocolate 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar HOW TO PREP: Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 10-inch cake pan or bundt pan. In a stand mixer beat the cake mix, pudding mix, oil, milk and eggs for about 2 minutes, or until fluffy. Stir in chocolate chips and grated chocolate. Pour into greased and floured pan. Place pan in oven and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.

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Blueberry Muffins Makes 18 muffins Turbinado sugar, also known as raw sugar, is coarser and darker than regular granulated sugar. It is made from the initial pressing of sugarcane. WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 10 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 cup sugar Finely grated zest of 1 lemon 1½ cups plain unsweetened yogurt 2 large eggs 3 teaspoons baking powder ½ teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon salt 3 cups all-purpose flour 3 cups fresh blueberries 6 tablespoons turbinado sugar HOW TO PREP: Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 1-2 muffin tins with 18 paper liners, or spray each muffin tin cup with nonstick spray. Melt butter in the bottom of a large bowl. Let it cool for 1 minute. Whisk in sugar, lemon zest, yogurt and eggs; continue whisking until batter is smooth. Whisk in baking powder, baking soda and salt until fully combined, then lightly fold in flour and berries. Pour batter in equal amounts into prepared muffin tin cups. Sprinkle each with 1 teaspoon turbinado sugar. Place in preheated oven and bake 25-30 minutes, or until muffin tops are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of each muffin comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan. Place muffins on a rack to finish cooling.

We talk to local farmers every day to make sure the fruits and vegetables you find at Rouses Markets are the best they can be. We’ve been working with the Eubanks family, which supplies many of our Mississippi blueberries, for over a decade. 4 6 J U N E 20 20


Chocolate Pecan Cookies Makes about 2 dozen cookies The secrets to this cookie are the oats, which add a nutty flavor, and the lemon juice, which reacts with the baking soda to make a softer, chewier cookie. WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 2 sticks butter, softened ¾ cup granulated sugar ¾ cup packed light brown sugar 2 large eggs 1¼ teaspoons vanilla extract ¼ teaspoon lemon juice 2¼ cups all-purpose flour ½ cup rolled oats 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon baking soda Pinch cinnamon 2¾ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips 2 cups chopped pecans HOW TO PREP: Preheat oven to 300°F. Line several cookie sheets with parchment paper. Beat butter, sugar and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Add eggs, vanilla and lemon juice. Blend mixture on low speed for 30 seconds, then medium speed for about 2 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bottom and sides of bowl with a spatula as you blend. Return mixer to low speed and add flour, oats, salt, baking soda and cinnamon, blending for about 45 seconds. Do not overmix. Remove bowl from mixer. Gently stir in chocolate chip morsels and pecans with a wooden spoon or spatula. Portion dough with a jumbo scoop (around 3 tablespoons) onto the cookie sheets lined with parchment paper, placing them about 2 inches apart. If you don’t have a cookie scoop, use 2 spoons to portion dough. Bake for 20 to 23 minutes, or until edges of cookies are golden brown and centers are still soft. Remove from oven and cool on baking sheet for around 1 hour before serving or storing. ROUSES

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Use leftover cold rotisserie chicken as a base for these chicken salad recipes.

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Chicken Salad with HorseradishDijon Vinaigrette Makes 4 servings

Rotisserie Chicken Salad Sandwiches Makes 4 sandwiches WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 3 cups rotisserie chicken, white and dark meat, roughly shredded 1 cup baby spinach leaves 2 green onions, thinly sliced ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro 1 teaspoon salt, to taste Juice and zest from one fresh lime 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 ripe avocado Freshly ground black pepper 8 slices thick white bread HOW TO PREP: In a large mixing bowl, combine chicken, spinach, green onions and cilantro; set aside. In a small bowl, stir together salt, lime juice and lime zest. Whisk in oil, and add pepper to taste. Pour over chicken salad, tossing gently by hand to mix. Halve the avocado, and discard pits. Scoop out curls with a spoon, or peel avocado, and cut into slices. Lightly toast bread slices and lay them on a work surface. Top 4 pieces of the toast with chicken salad; place avocado slices atop each, then top each with another piece of toast to make the sandwiches. Cut sandwiches in half and serve.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED: ¼ cup almonds ¼ cup cashews ¼ cup walnuts 3 cups rotisserie chicken, torn into bitesize pieces 2 slices cooked bacon, crumbled ¼ cup raisins 8 cups mixed salad greens 1 cup Horseradish-Dijon Vinaigrette dressing (recipe below) HOW TO PREP: Preheat oven to 350°F. Toast almonds, cashews and walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing halfway through, until golden brown, around 8-10 minutes. Let nuts cool, then chop them roughly. Toss salad greens, chicken, bacon, raisins and nuts with dressing in a very large bowl. Serve.

Horseradish-Dijon Vinaigrette Dressing WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 4½ teaspoons sugar ²/₃ cup olive oil Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste HOW TO PREP: Whisk vinegar, horseradish, mustard and sugar in a small bowl until sugar is dissolved. Whisking constantly, gradually add olive oil; whisk until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.

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Honey Lime Chicken Salad Makes 4 servings WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 8 cups mixed salad greens 3 cups rotisserie chicken, torn into bitesize pieces 1 cup Honey Lime dressing (recipe below) HOW TO PREP: Toss salad greens and torn chicken with dressing in a very large bowl. Serve.

Honey Lime Chicken Salad Dressing WHAT YOU WILL NEED: ½ jalapeño pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped 1 clove garlic 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled ¼ cup lime juice ¹/₃ cup honey 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar ½ teaspoon salt ¼ cup packed cilantro leaves ½ cup extra virgin olive oil HOW TO PREP: Place the jalapeño pepper, garlic clove and ginger into a food processor or blender; pulse until the jalapeño and garlic are finely chopped. Pour the lime juice, honey, balsamic vinegar and salt into the processor or blender. Add the cilantro leaves, and pulse a few times to blend. Turn the food processor or blender on, and slowly drizzle in the olive oil until it is incorporated into the dressing. Season to taste with salt before serving.

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Healthy Chicken Salad Makes 6 servings WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 5 cups rotisserie chicken, torn into bite-size pieces 2 ripe avocados, pitted and diced ½ cup red onion, minced 1 tablespoon green onion, chopped 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

FIVE BENEFITS OF AVOCADOS: 1. Excellent source of monounsaturated fats — heart-healthy fats. Diets high in monounsaturated fats are associated with a lower risk of heart disease and stroke. 2. Healthy fats included in your meal help with satiety — keeping you feeling full longer. 3. High in fiber, which also helps keep you feeling full. 4. Low in carbohydrates for those of you counting carbs — half an avocado has only eight grams of total carbs with six grams of fiber, which equals just two net carbs. 5. A naturally cholesterol-free food.

HOW TO PREP: Place the bite-size chicken pieces, avocado, red and green onion, and cilantro in a large bowl. Drizzle with the lime juice and olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Toss gently until all the ingredients are combined. Serve on a large lettuce leaf or on a bed of salad greens.

April Sins, Rouses Dietitian, says... Avocados have gained recognition as one of the healthier go-to items in the produce section. These green nutrition powerhouses are naturally cholesterol free, and they are an excellent source of monounsaturated fats, which are heart-healthy fats associated with a lower risk of heart disease and stroke. Healthy fats included in our meals help with satiety — they keep us feeling full longer. Many people are attracted to avocados due to their lower carbohydrate value. One half of an avocado has only eight grams of total carbohydrates compared to half of a large apple, which contains approximately 15 grams of carbohydrates.

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Additionally, avocados have six grams of fiber per serving; that’s less than two grams of net carbs per serving. Yet another benefit of eating avocado is its immune system promoting nutrients of Vitamins A and C and the mineral magnesium. Traditionally, we have seen avocados used in sandwiches and salads; however, this versatile fruit has trended in a multitude of ways in recent years. The avocado makes a healthy substitute in many recipes, including swapping it for mayonnaise in chicken salad, adding it to sauces and dressings for a rich creaminess, letting it pinch-hit for butter on toast or bagels, and substituting its cholesterol-free goodness for oil in baking.

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Creole Tomato Club Sandwich Makes 2 sandwiches WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 1 tablespoon canola oil 2 eggs 6 slices thick white bread ¼ cup mayonnaise 3 ounces deli-sliced turkey or chicken 3 ounces deli-sliced smoked ham Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste 8 slices cooked thick cut bacon, crisp 1 ripe Creole tomato, thinly sliced 4 inner romaine lettuce leaves, rinsed and dried HOW TO PREP: Heat oil in an 8" nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; fry eggs, flipping once, until white is cooked and yolk is partially firm, 1-2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; set aside. Lightly toast bread and lay on a work surface; spread slices generously with mayonnaise. Top two slices of bread with delisliced turkey or chicken followed by ham. To each, add one egg, two pieces of bacon and lettuce to cover the bacon, followed by tomato slices. Season tomatoes with salt and pepper. Top each with a second piece of toast, mayonnaise side down. Spread mayonnaise on top of the bread. Top with turkey or chicken, two slices of bacon, lettuce and tomato. Lightly salt and pepper. Top with third piece of bread, mayonnaise side down. Secure with toothpicks; cut both sandwiches into quarters and serve.

Knobby, orange-to-red Creole tomatoes are perfect eaten out of hand, sprinkled with salt, but they’re also delicious on salads and sandwiches. The Creole isn’t one particular cultivar. The name Creole refers to where these seasonal tomatoes are grown — typically the fertile fields of the southeastern part of Louisiana, in particular St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes. Tangipahoa Parish, part of Louisiana’s “berry belt,” is slowly becoming known for its Creole tomatoes as well, thanks in part to father-and-son farming team Anthony and Joey Liuzza of Liuzza Produce.

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Creole Tomato Sandwich Makes 4 sandwiches Our version of the white bread-and-mayo classic. WHAT YOU WILL NEED: ½ cup mayonnaise 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 1 garlic clove, finely chopped 1 teaspoon black pepper 8 white bread slices 2 large Creole tomatoes, cut into ½-inch-thick slices 1 teaspoon celery salt HOW TO PREP: Combine mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic and pepper in a small bowl; spread on one side of each bread slice. Top four bread slices with tomatoes; sprinkle with celery salt. Cover with remaining four bread slices to make 4 sandwiches, and cut in half to serve.


Photo by Romney Carus0

HOW TO PREP: Place a rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°F.

Creole Tomato Bread Pudding Makes 4-6 servings Gruyère can’t be beat for flavor intensity and meltability. WHAT YOU WILL NEED: ½ pound French bread, torn into 2-inch cubes (about 5-6 cups) 2 large garlic cloves, cut in half Butter, for greasing the pan 2 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated (½ cup) 1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (¼ cup) 1 pound firm, ripe Creole tomatoes, sliced Salt, to taste Freshly ground pepper, to taste 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary 1 teaspoon dried oregano 4 large eggs ½ teaspoon salt 2 cups low-fat milk

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Arrange bread cubes on a rimmed baking sheet and bake, tossing halfway through, until pieces are very dry and lightly toasted, 25-35 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool, then transfer to a large bowl. (If your bread was stale to begin with, there’s no need to toast the cubes; proceed to the next step.) Rub the cubes of bread with the cut sides of the garlic halves, then mince all of the garlic and set it aside. Grease a 2-quart baking dish with butter. Combine the two cheeses in a small bowl. Layer half of the bread cubes in the greased baking dish. Top the bread cubes with half the tomato slices, then sprinkle the tomato slices with salt, pepper and half each of the thyme, rosemary, oregano and remaining garlic. Top with half the cheese, then repeat the layers. Beat together the eggs and milk. Add the salt and freshly ground pepper to taste, and pour egg-milk mixture over the bread and tomato layers. Place pan in preheated oven and bake 40 to 50 minutes, or until lightly golden, puffy and pulling away from the pan edges. Remove from the oven and serve hot or warm.

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5 4 J U N E 20 20


Rustic Bread Makes 1 loaf (10 servings)

No-Knead Bread Makes 1 large loaf WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed ½ teaspoon instant yeast 2 teaspoons salt 2 cups water, lukewarm Cornmeal, for dusting HOW TO PREP: In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, yeast and salt. Add the water to the mix and stir until blended; the dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and let dough rest for 18 hours at room temperature. The dough is ready when its surface is spotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a bit more flour to make it easier to handle, and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Coat a cotton towel with cornmeal; put dough seam side down on the towel and dust with more cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, the dough will be more than double in size and will not spring back when poked with a finger. At least 30 minutes before dough is ready, heat oven to 450°F. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot in the oven as it heats. When dough is more than double in size after rising for 2 hours, carefully remove hot pot from oven. Coat with non-stick spray. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is browned. Cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes before serving.

ROUSES

WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting 1 packet active dry yeast 2 teaspoons kosher salt 1½ cups warm water HOW TO PREP: In a large bowl, whisk together contents of yeast packet and warm water. Wait until bubbles form (around 3-5 minutes). If no bubbling occurs after 10 minutes, the yeast is not alive, and you will need to repeat with a fresh yeast packet. Add flour and salt. Wet hands and combine ingredients by hand until a sticky dough forms. Cover the bowl with a clean, damp towel; allow dough to rise until doubled in size (about 2 hours). Uncover the dough. Using a rubber spatula, fold the sides toward the center of the dough. Cover and let rise for an additional 2 hours. Your dough should have doubled in size again. Place an empty 5-quart Dutch oven, with the lid on, inside of the oven. Preheat to 450°F with the pot inside the oven for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, uncover the dough and scrape the sides with a rubber spatula. Dust with flour and shape dough into a loaf. Carefully remove the hot pot from the oven. Remove the lid and spray lightly with cooking spray. Turn the dough onto a floured surface, then carefully place it in the Dutch oven. Cover and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the loaf with a spatula and allow to cool on a baking rack before slicing.

“Right away, flour and yeast started selling like crazy. People need something to occupy their time and keep their wits, and baking is an art. I think the pandemic will lead to a new age of great bakers. It is something that’s going to have a lasting, positive affect on this generation.” — Chris Acosta, Category Manager, 3rd Generation

W W W. R O U S E S . C O M 5 5


Spicy BBQ Shrimp-Style Dipping Sauce Makes 4 servings

New Orleans BBQ Shrimp Makes 6 servings WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 teaspoon rosemary, chopped 3 pounds 16-20 count, wild-caught, head-on Gulf shrimp, in their shells 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice ¼ cup dry white wine 2 teaspoons Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce 1 teaspoon Crystal Hot Sauce 4 tablespoons black pepper 2 teaspoons paprika ¼ teaspoon salt 3 sticks butter, chilled and chopped into ½-inch cubes 1 loaf French bread HOW TO PREP: Rinse the shrimp and pat them dry. Place 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and rosemary, and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the lemon juice, white wine, Worcestershire and hot sauce, and bring to a gentle simmer. Add the shrimp and cook over medium heat, turning the shrimp over with a spoon every two minutes or so, until all shrimp are pink. Reduce heat to low. Cover the shrimp with a thin but complete layer of black pepper. Add the paprika and salt. Distribute the cubes of butter over the shrimp. With a large spoon, turn the shrimp over. Agitate the pan as the butter melts over the shrimp and emulsifies into the liquid at the bottom of the pan. When no more solid butter is visible, remove the pan from the burner. Serve the shrimp in a wide soup bowl with hot French bread for dipping. Also great with grits.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 2 sticks unsalted butter 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 1 teaspoon of Crystal Hot Sauce 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 sprig rosemary Zest and juice of 1 lemon 2 pounds of freshly boiled shrimp HOW TO PREP: Mix all ingredients except shrimp and place in a 12-inch skillet over medium-low heat; cook until garlic is soft, 6-8 minutes. Remove rosemary and discard it. Pour sauce into a serving bowl or individual ramekins for dipping. Serve with freshly boiled shrimp.

Creamy Grits Makes 6 servings WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 2 cups water, plus more if needed 2 cups milk, plus more if needed 1 cup stone-ground or regular grits Rouses Salt to taste ¼ cup heavy cream 2 tablespoons unsalted butter HOW TO PREP: Heat milk and water over medium heat in a medium pot. While the liquid is heating, pour stone-ground grits into a large mixing bowl and cover with cool water. Stir the grits so that the chaff floats to the top. Skim the surface carefully and remove the chaff. Drain the grits in a fine strainer. (If you are using regular grits, you can skip this step.) When water and milk begin to simmer, stir in the grits. Cook, stirring often to avoid sticking and scorching, until the grits are tender and have thickened. Regular grits are done in about 20 minutes; stone-ground grits require an hour or more, and you may need additional water and milk. When grits are fully cooked, season with salt and stir in cream and butter. Remove from heat and let rest, covered, until serving.

5 6 J U N E 20 20


Photo by Romney Carus0 ROUSES

W W W. R O U S E S . C O M

57


Tex-Mex Skillet Cornbread Makes 6 servings WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 1¼ cups all-purpose flour 1 cup yellow cornmeal 1 tablespoon baking powder 1½ teaspoons kosher salt 4 large eggs 1 15-ounce can creamed corn 1 4.5-ounce can mild green chiles, drained and chopped 1½ ounces Monterey Jack, grated (about ½ cup) 1½ ounces mild cheddar, grated (about ½ cup) ¾ cup unsalted butter (1½ sticks), at room temperature ²/₃ cup sugar HOW TO PREP: Place rack in center of oven. Set an oven-proof skillet on a rimmed baking sheet and place on rack, then preheat oven to 400°F. Whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside. Lightly beat eggs in another bowl, and whisk in the creamed corn, chiles, Monterey Jack and cheddar. Mix butter and sugar in a large bowl with a wooden spoon, just until butter absorbs sugar somewhat but with the butter still in small pieces. Add the egg mixture to this bowl and mix until just combined. Then, mix in the dry ingredients, gently stirring until the dry mix is just lightly incorporated. Carefully remove hot skillet from oven and immediately coat it with a light film of nonstick spray. Pour the batter into the hot skillet — it should sizzle on contact and stay slightly mounded in the center. Return skillet to oven, and bake cornbread until top is golden brown and it springs back when gently pressed, around 35-45 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Jalapeño Crawfish Cornbread Makes 6 servings Don't have buttermilk? Get our easy buttermilk substitution in our Buttermilk Banana Nut Bread recipe on page 41. WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pangreasing and serving 2 cloves garlic, minced 3 green onion tops, thinly sliced

5 8 J U N E 20 20


1 jalapeño pepper, stemmed and seeded, and finely chopped 12 ounces Louisiana crawfish tails, roughly chopped 1 teaspoon Creole seasoning 1 package (8.5 ounces) Jiffy Cornbread Mix 1 cup buttermilk 1 egg Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

The big, fat crabs in stores now come from fishermen who work the Gulf of Mexico and nearby marshes, lakes and bays.

HOW TO PREP: Heat oven to 475°F. Grease six 8-ounce ramekins with butter and set them aside. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, green onions and jalapeño; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft, about 3 minutes. Add the crawfish tails and Creole seasoning. Cook for 2 minutes, then remove from heat. Mix Jiffy, buttermilk, egg, and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Fold in the cooled crawfish mixture. Divide batter evenly into the six ramekins. Place them on a cookie sheet in the preheated oven, and bake until tops are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of each comes out clean, around 18-20 minutes.

Crab Toast Makes 8 servings WHAT YOU WILL NEED: 12 ounces lump crabmeat ¼ cup capers, rinsed ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil 1 teaspoon crushed red chili pepper 2 lemons, zested and juiced Kosher salt Fresh-ground black pepper ½ cup mayonnaise 8 thick slices sourdough bread HOW TO PREP: Gently combine crabmeat, capers, olive oil, chili pepper, lemon zest and lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a bowl; set aside. Heat a cast-iron grill pan over high, or heat a gas grill to high. Spread mayonnaise on both sides of each slice of bread and season each with a little sprinkle of salt. Grill the bread on each side until browned and crisp, around 5 minutes, and transfer the toasts to a serving platter. To serve, spread the crabmeat blend on each slice of toast.

Photo by Romney Carus0 ROUSES

W W W. R O U S E S . C O M 5 9


2G SUGAR.

PRETTY SWEET, HUH?

3g

CARBS PER 5.3oz

80%

LESS SUGAR

THAN AVERAGE GREEK YOGURT*

*Two Good: 2g sugar per 5.3oz. Average Greek yogurt: 11g sugar per 5.3oz. ©2019 Danone US, LLC


QUICK. EASY.

SIMPLE.

A few minutes is all it takes to prepare a great meal with John Soules Foods Breaded Chicken. Great taste and made with the best quality premium ingredients. From our kitchen to yours, enjoy.

©2020 John Soules Foods, Inc.

A SAUCE SIMMERED IN TRADITION


Part

Can you find these essential items? APPLES

CHEESE

EGGS

POTATO CHIPS

BACON

CHOCOLATE

FROZEN PIZZA

POTATOES

BANANAS

COFFEE

ICE CREAM

PRETZELS

BOTTLED WATER

COLD CUTS

MILK

RICE

CANNED TUNA

CONDENSED SOUP

PET FOOD

SPAGHETTI

CANNED VEGETABLES

COOKIES

POPCORN

1

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click here to print activity sheets 6 2 J U N E 20 20


Part

Can you find these essential items?

2

BLEACH

DRIED BEANS

JELLY

SHRIMP

BREAD

FLOUR

JIFFY CORN MUFFIN MIX

SOAP

CAKE MIX

FROZEN DINNERS

LYSOL

SPAM

CHICKEN

GROUND BEEF

MASK

TOILET PAPER

CLOROX

HAND SANITIZER

PAPER TOWELS

VIENNA SAUSAGE

DISINFECTANT

HOT DOGS

PEANUT BUTTER

YEAST

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click here to print activity sheets ROUSES

W W W. R O U S E S . C O M 6 3


100% American Beef, Pork & Poultry

www.rouses.com


Can you find the hidden items? bay leaf

banana

candle

fish

sausage

ladle

steak

french bread

football

click here to print activity sheets ROUSES

W W W. R O U S E S . C O M 6 5


SAME DAY DELIVERY & PICKUP

Visit www.rouses.com to check availability at your store.


Spot the difference! Spot the difference! There are 6 differences in the photos below. you find them all? There are are 10 6Can differences There differences in in the the photos photos below. below. Can all? Can you you find find them them all?

ROUSES MARKETS ROUSES MARKETS click here to print activity sheets ROUSES

W W W. R O U S E S . C O M

67


Activity Sheet Answer Keys

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6 8 J U N E 20 20

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Activity Sheet Answer Keys

ROUSES

W W W. R O U S E S . C O M 6 9


Ingredients: - 4 chicken breasts, 6-8 oz. - 2 cups Odyssey Mediterranean Herb Feta Cheese, crumbled - 1 cup Kalamata Olives, chopped Directions: 1. Grill or pan sear chicken breast over medium-high heat until juices run clear or meat thermometer reads 160 degrees F. 2. Divide feta cheese on top of the chicken breasts, top with chopped olives and put under broiler until feta cheese turns lightly brown. This is a great light meal with crusty bread, a green salad, or on top of cooked orzo, barley, rice, or pasta!

Try our Mediterranean Herb Feta over Chicken! www.odysseybrands.com