Ever since I discovered Green And Crunchy, I’ve been envious of Sheri’s bulk food club. It’s not available in our area though, so I just kept shopping at the health food store. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know I don’t compromise when it comes to food. We don’t buy anything with mystery ingredients, we make pretty much everything from scratch, and our diet is mostly vegan. We try to buy local and organic (both if possible) whenever we can.
Sheri’s recent posts detailing her bulk food purchases inspired me to try again to see if I could find something similar. I started with hemp seeds. I had been buying them from our local store in 8 ounce bags. We would go through a bag every week, and they were about $8 each. Expensive, plus all of the wasted packaging was a bummer. So last week I went to the source (I buy Manitoba Harvest hemp seeds) and ordered two 5 pound buckets of seeds. They came to a total of $100 ($10/lb as opposed to the $16/lb I was paying when I bought them in little packages each week). Shipping was free, and the buckets arrived today. My bulk food buying has begun!
Then this morning we went to check out the food co-op in the nearby town. The health food store where we normally shop is local to our state, but the co-op is even more local. Right away I liked the bulk bins (mostly organic) that allow customers to reuse their own containers rather than prepackaging stuff in little plastic bags. The store was small and quaint, but well-stocked. And the best part is their bulk buying program. They can order anything that their distributer carries (which is a lot more than what is available in the store), and members get all bulk orders for 20% above wholesale (as opposed to 40% – 50% above wholesale for non-members). To become members, we had to buy a share in the co-op, which cost $160. If we ever move or decide we don’t want to be members (both highly unlikely!) we can sell our share back to them. So we bought a share, and are now proud co-op members. I love the fact that we’re supporting a local business that is fully focused on healthy living and local, organic food. I am also SO FREAKIN EXCITED to place my first bulk order! I’ve been making a list of all the things I use a lot of, and I’ll place my order sometime in the next week or so.
As an added bonus, co-op members get dividends each year, based on the profitability of the store. Here’s hoping they do well!
We’ve started our seedlings for the garden, and are very excited about all the food we’re hoping to grow here this summer. It will be great to have our own vegetables straight from the back yard. We’re going to let a few of the new trees bear fruit this summer, but we’re planning to pluck the buds off most of them so that they can focus on their roots this year. So this summer our own crops will be mostly veggies… but one of these days, most of our food will (hopefully!) be as local as can be – grown within 50 yards of our back door.
Anybody else having luck with buying food in bulk? Growing your own? Tips for storing food that you grow or purchase in bulk?