Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Places to Go for Bulk Grocery Purchases

If you don't live in a community that has a warehouse store, or one within a reasonable distance away, try a feed store, or even a health food store, or co-op.

Feed stores regularly order stuff in 50-lb. bags, so why not order rice, beans, macaroni, coffee beans, or other commonly- and frequently-used stuff this way?

My health food store has an online catalog (for local users only--sorry!) that offers a whole universe of bulk stuff to choose from and order at 20% off or more. Anything from candy to pasta to nuts to assorted grains (like sorghum and millet) to ionized water to meats and dairy to some forms of produce (like cases of apples, squash, cabbage, collards, peppers, grapes, etc.)--even eggs are available by the 18-to-a-flat case.

For perishables, try going to the source: the farm. If no farm is available, try going to an agricultural college, who likely has cheap meat, eggs, and other byproducts from animal rearing classes. An "Ag" college might also be the place for bulk grains, since some of them also raise crops as part of their curriculum.

UPDATE: any big-chain health food store will order stuff for you--Whole Foods (or its subsidiary, Sun Harvest) does it all the time. When something you buy regularly in bulk from the bins is on sale, go to the customer service desk and ask for that same item to be ordered in a 25- or 50-lb. bag. You'll get it at the sale price per pound, so that will save you some money. When I lived in Texas, Sun Harvest kindly ordered me bags of on-sale wild rice and oatmeal. Be prepared to go pick it up--they don't deliver.

As far as smaller quantities go, when regular grocery stores start a sale, go to the customer service desk and ask for them to order case lots of whatever you want (bags of stuff, cans of stuff, jars of stuff, etc.). Whatever you see on the shelves is available to the grocer by the case, and you can get it too by asking for it), but MAKE SURE YOU GET IT FOR THE SALE PRICE WHEN IT ARRIVES--GET A RAINCHECK FOR IT IF YOU HAVE TO!


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