The soul of a city reveals itself in times of crisis.

So it was last winter, when meteorologists reported a massive winter storm descending on the Portland area. Some forecasts predicted up to 18 inches of snow for the Willamette Valley. Faced with potentially the biggest blizzard the region had seen in two decades, Portlanders snapped into survival mode. And here, that meant raiding the produce aisle.

It was pretty funny at the time—and even funnier when all we ended up getting was a gentle dusting. In retrospect, though, the citizenry was doing exactly what they're supposed to do. In the event of a major winter storm, the Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends storing "at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food and water." It may have looked like panic, but at least we were thinking ahead.

Of course, if we had just a little more time to think about it, kale probably isn't the first thing most of us would reach for. With another potentially snowy winter approaching, we figured it's never too early to start thinking about the essentials—and by "essentials," we mean snacks and alcohol, of course.

To generate some inspiration for our next Storm of the Century shopping list, we went to the experts—Portland's grocery store clerks. Here's what they told us they'll be snatching off their own shelves before the rest of you have a chance.

Emily H., New Seasons (Slabtown)

  • Espiga box wine
  • Chocolove Almonds &
    Sea Salt bars
  • Heirloom apples

Maloni B., New Seasons (Arbor Lodge)

  • New Seasons chips
  • Seattle Sourdough Bread
  • Pacific Foods Red Pepper & Tomato Soup

Bryn H., Food Front Cooperative Grocery

  • Equal Exchange Hot Cocoa
  • Malbec from La Riojana wines
  • Medicinal Chicken Soup from the Food Front Deli

Cas M., Whole Foods (Pearl)

  • Lenny & Larry’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein Cookie
  • Banza Chickpea Pasta Mac and Cheese
  • Lemongrass Chicken Soup from the Hot Bar

Nikki U., Food Fight

  • Earth Balance Vegan Cheddar Squares
  • Alpha Foods Mexi-Cali Frozen Burrito
  • Papa G’s Original Tofu

Mike Z., Zupan's

  • Lytle Barnett Sparkling Wine
  • Zupan’s Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
  • Lamb shanks

Mark R., Green Zebra Grocery

  • Bandit Cabernet Sauvignon box wine
  • Tipsy Pops
  • Bulk popcorn

Mitchell T., CityMaxx

  • Richard Royal Ceylon Infused Black Tea
  • Milka chocolate bars
  • Canadian flour

Bree P., John's Marketplace

  • St. Bernardus Christmas Ale
  • Cascade Kriek Barrel Aged Red Ale
  • Samuel Smith Chocolate Stout