Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Buying Food In Bulk

I had mentioned in an earlier blog post that I was getting a nice discount from my local health food grocery store from buying food by the case (seemed to be about 30%). I've since found an even better option: buying wholesale directly from the distributor (eliminating the middle man of the grocery store and saving even more).

I had heard it was possible in some cities to visit distributor directly, but at the time of my original post, it didn't seem possible in my area. I had called around to what I thought were the local distributors in my area, but they were not open to the general public (only other grocery stores). Maybe the search engines recently improved, who knows, but I tried searching again recently and found a produce distributor that sells directly to consumers in my city. Yay, the savings! 

Due to seasonal demand organic avocados from the grocery store were $65 for a case of 36 - ouch (but still much better than buying individually).

Buying wholesale, a case of organic avocados cost me $53 last month.
A case of organic lemons (40lbs; 95 count) was also $53.

These are savings of about 50% off from the regular grocery store prices. I've arranged my finances so my food bill is the most significant portion of my annual budget. Savings like this really help.

Buying wholesale directly from the distributor also means much fresher produce. Your food isn't waiting around for who knows how long in the back of the grocery store. You pick it up right from the big trucks that deliver it to the city.

The key with buying wholesale produce is that you have to eat it up in time. I have a system worked out for the avocados where I ask for 'green' or 'firm' avocados directly off of the truck. (Otherwise they heat them up so they ripen from green to brown, and I can't usually get to them all in time if I buy them pre-ripened.) I store them green in the fridge and pull out a couple every day. After an initial 4-5 days, the first avocados have ripened & the next two are staged to ripen the day after that and so on (I eat a lot of avocados). ;p

If you eat a lot of a particular kind of fruit, vegetable, or whatever, it may very well be worth your time to look for a wholesale produce supplier in your area to see if they sell to the public. We're talking mangos, oranges, grapes, ...

The place I found is very convenient. I call in advance to place my order and can then pick it up on whatever day I've arranged. There is a sales office with a little parking strip outside, so I can drive my car right up (dodging the big trucks along the way). They also accept credit cards (but some wholesale suppliers might only accept cash from the general public, so I'd ask in advance).

If you're interested, try this key word search on google maps for your city: Wholesale Produce

Glad I finally found this option for my location. Persistence is key ... as always!

Blog Post by Laura A Knauth

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