The Produce Thang

food.JPGCall me crazy, but we’re doing the produce thing again this week. We’re really enjoying our new diet. Last night we had bean and cheese enchiladas with a big bowl of cantaloupe and a salad of romaine lettuce with lots of avocados and tomatoes. Breakfast was baked oatmeal with pears, and lunch today was sauteed zucchini, which all but one child ate with glee. Dinner today was this, with several substitutions, improvisations and vegetable side dishes.

So even though last week didn’t go exactly as planned, I’m up for it again. After all, our 4 quarts of strawberries at $1.09 each only lasted 24 hours, and we’re out of tomatoes, mangos, apples and bananas. We need more. Cucumbers, carrots, zucchini and pears are holding out well. We’re out of white flour and sugar, but who needs it?

Over all, I think the Grand Produce Event went well for a first time, but it didn’t help that I had car trouble twice before I got there, and wound up being late. Three times, if you count the 2 separate stops to add coolant (the first was just my bottle of drinking water), and 4 if you count the fact that I had to drive all the way there with the heat on full blast to keep it from overheating.

Then I left my debit card at the produce terminal. Somehow when I realized this and called about it, I managed to talk to the one person in the office who didn’t realize that they had already emailed my friend (but not me!) about a debit card left behind. Since she told me they didn’t have it, I called the bank and cancelled the card. Now I’ll have to wait two weeks to get another, even though the nice produce people are no doubt waiting to hand me my card on Friday. Such is life.

food2.JPGThe purchase itself went smoothly (except for the little lost debit card incident) and they managed to cram stack 29 cases of produce into my friend’s van. I was glad she offered to drive, since I was driving hubby’s little car. Maybe I was too optimistic in thinking that 29 cases would fit into the back seat and trunk. We’ll never know.

The dispersal of 29 cases of produce was much less smooth. Chaotic is a good word. I won’t belabor the details; let’s just say there will be a better plan this time. The fact that there even is a plan this time is an improvement. My Honey had some great ideas on organizing and I am optimistic that it will go much more quickly.

For those who wondered, here is the spreadsheet containing our orders. I have cleared last week’s orders, so you might not see much yet. I think we’re all still chowing down on last week’s pears, cantaloupes, mango, nectarines, tomatoes, avocados… Orders this week might be a bit more conservative.

Did you notice the column for totals? It actually calculates itself! Is that cool or what? Now if I could just get it to calculates each person’s total in dollar amounts…

Look, but please don’t touch. It would not be funny if I were to buy 760 avocados only to find out that Kathy G. really only wanted 24.  Actually, you should only be able to edit if you have received a personal invitation or if you are a hacker; if you have an invitation, edit to your heart’s content.  If you are a hacker, you probably aren’t known for heeding such warnings anyhow.


  1. Thanks for the recipe for the pasta dish. I’m going to try it when we get back from the holiday. DH might not miss the meat in a dish like that. Love the produce idea.

  2. We love jicama, but I don’t know about 40 POUNDS of it! lol

    Enjoy. I’m green, with envy that is. 😉

  3. Oh, I wish I lived where there was a big produce warehouse like that! We would TOTALLY be a part of it all!

    Here in the NW, we rely during the winter on things being imported in from other southern states. But BOY does spring put the fresh-food bee in my bonnet!

  4. Okay, crazy! 🙂

  5. Jendeis and Samara,
    Thanks for the help on this – I’ll probably work on it after this week’s orders are finalized. It would only provide an estimate since prices are subject to change, but it would still be very helpful!

  6. mj,
    If the amount is nearly enough, we buy it and let people know that there is extra available for purchase. If it’s something I’m not interested in keeping, I might just round up their orders and charge them slightly extra. They all know that prices and amounts are variable.
    If the orders aren’t nearly enough, then we simply don’t buy that item.

  7. Hi Kim! You know, you could set that spreadsheet to calculate each person’s dollar amounts in the bottom row- you’d just to add a row with the per-pound price of each item (calculated from the existing info, so if anything changed you would only have to adjust the original info) and make a bottom row with the amount equalling [the sum of (each item in the row above times the corresponding amount in the per-pound price row)]. In fact, you could even add an uneditable row to each person’s order row so that they can see how much they’re paying for each item… would that be useful?

  8. I have a little home business that is similar to what you’re doing, but we do add mark-up. We do only certified organic and the distributor delivers to us. We set out the produce and members fill their own orders. My kids help alot and are eating amazingly well, for free! Our profit covers the rest of our groceries for the month. We also bring in local beef, pork and local raw dairy. I sell bread and my daughter sells you bake pizzas. We do this twice a month and it has developed into a nice home business. The organic and local part is our selling point.
    Molly (mom of 8)

  9. what do you do if the number of stuff ordered does not meet the minimal order requirement ofr that item???

  10. Spreadsheet help to the rescue! You may have already figured this out, but thought I would tell you how to write the formula to figure out everyone’s totals.

    I’d put these formulas in a row or two below the zucchini row.

    The formula will be long, but once you write it, you’ll just have to copy the formula, paste it and check the symbols then you will have it.

    =(Fuji apples’ price square x kimc’s Fuji apples’ order square) + (Jonagold apples’ price square x kimc’s Jonagold apples’ order square) …

    Will look something like this —

    =(b2xd2) + (b3xd3) + (b4xd4) …

    The next person will be —

    =(b2xe2) + (b3xe3) +b4xe4)…

    Hope this helps. Let me know if you need further help!

  11. That spreadsheet is amazing. I wish we had a produce market (of good quality, too) here in DC…

  12. homemakerang says:

    Hi, so great to hear how healthy you are eating!

    ** you could, with the kids help, start a little family business and have a pick up spot for your produce out of your van. Have them place the order and charge a fee on top of that. You go get the stuff and sort it and they pick up at a designated time and place. Make the time work for your family etc. If you had 5 families and charged $5 for your families time and gas on each order you could #1. teach your kids some business stuff and #2 get your produce paid for 🙂

    I am always thinking of this kind of thing, maybe it would not be a good fit for your family… God bless! BTW, i would pay the $5 if it were me but i live in michigan so it wont work out! xoxoxo

  13. This is FASCINATING to me! I’m so glad y’all looked outside the box for a cheaper solution.

  14. Wow, you guys did great. I wish I could keep up with my weekly shopping like this. Hope next week/this week goes better.

  15. Y’all are doing great with your eating! Inspiring the masses, even! I think I may have some baked oatmeal for breakfast now that you mention it.

    Keep up the great work!


  1. […] off to the produce terminal again today, this time with a new innovation. Thanks to my hubby and some very helpful readers (and […]

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