My bulk shopping trip to Amish country is finished! I went last Saturday. Since then, I’ve had a chance to clean out and reorganize my pantry, and put away all my new pantry staples. Above is all the stuff I bought when we first brought it home. You might see some of my apple peeking too.
Here’s the before picture (not so awesome):
Here’s the after picture (much more awesome):
I so need better organizational systems, and to stick to them once I’ve created them! I found it frustrating as I was trying to do the reorganization that I have large bags of food that I really wanted to put into some type of air-tight container so that bugs can’t get into them. Trying to afford all those new containers right after a big stock-up trip, well…not so easy. I was able to pull some containers (plastic) out of the basement, and that’ll have to do for now. It is not ideal, but plastic leaches when exposed to heat or fat. Since the dry goods don’t contain these, I feel safe enough using them until I can afford better. You’ll see more details below about how and why I did this.
What I Actually Bought
I knew, going in, that there were my “must haves” and then a long list of “I’d like to haves.” You can read those lists here. But I also knew that some of those might not be available, or might be more expensive than I wanted to pay. I also knew I might happen upon some great deals that weren’t on my list that I’d want to snap up. So now I’ll share what I actually bought!
Kidron Produce and Nursery
- 2 bushels of tomatoes ($24)
- 40 lbs. of potatoes ($16)
- 8 green and red peppers ($2)
- 1 watermelon — my daughter insisted ($4)
- 4 very large yellow onions ($3)
These are the best prices I have ever seen on most of these things. I kind of wish I’d bought even more tomatoes. My MIL is going to be in the area next week, and they are supposed to have concord grapes coming in soon, so I’ll ask her if she wouldn’t mind stopping by to check the price on those. If they’re under $13 for half a bushel, I’ll probably pick up a couple. We’d like to can grape juice to use as kombucha flavoring. They also had apples for $8 for half-bushel bags, not a bad price. (Although I did better with $15/bushel for seconds from Apolloson Acres!)
Discount Grocery Store
- 2 1-lb. bags organic corn chips ($1.50)
- 1 bottle V8 Fusion ($1.50)
- 1 box Annie’s mac’n’ cheese ($0.39)
- 4 bags white pasta ($2.75)
- 4 boxes white pasta ($4)
- 13 Larabars ($2.60)
I cannot remember the name of this place, but it’s down Kidron Rd. from the produce stand. (If you cross 250, you’re going the wrong way!) Most of this stuff was special treats. That amount of white pasta will probably last a year, as I add it to soups or use it in a pinch. I chose shapes that I can’t find in brown rice or better varieties that I still occasionally like to use. The V8 Fusion is also a special treat. The best find was Larabars for $0.20 each. I bought all I could find. They will make great snacks on the go.
Discount grocery stores are really hit-or-miss. I have found lots more organic corn chips in the past. I have found kids’ organic baby food purees or fruit snacks before. I didn’t find those this time, although I was hoping to. They’re worth checking out every now and then. This one takes only cash, as do many.
The Ashery Country Store
- 2 lbs. Real Salt ($6.50)
- 1/2 lb. marble cheese ($1.40)
- 1 gal. maple syrup ($46)
- 14 lbs. brown rice ($9.50 — $0.69/lb.)
- 20 lbs. white wheat berries ($13)
- 2 lbs. pearled barley ($1.50)
- 7 lbs. rolled oats ($4.50)
- 15 lbs. sucanat ($28)
- 10 lbs. unbleached white flour ($5)
- 1 lb. cocoa powder ($8 — it’s NOT cheaper but it’s so rich and awesome)
- Onion powder ($3 — two HUGE containers)
- Chili powder ($5)
- Cumin ($3 — huge container)
- Cloves, whole ($3)
- Nutmeg ($3 — this one of the more expensive spices)
- Cinnamon ($2 — huge container)
These were my pantry staples. I did buy the unbleached white flour. It is great for dusting surfaces to roll things out, and I use it for pie crusts and other special baking projects. I tend to use it a bit more often in the fall and holiday seasons when I want a specific texture, and I won’t go again before the end of the year. I bought quite a lot of spices, because they are super cheap.
Regular long-grain brown rice was $0.69/lb. while basmati rice was $4/lb. and I’m not willing to pay that. I bought regular! The cocoa powder is not my bottom price (at all) but this cocoa powder is so much richer than any other I can find, so I still buy it. Real Salt also wasn’t my bottom price (but close; $3/lb. is what I can usually get) but it was worth it to pay very slightly more to save myself a trip to a different store. That’s a pretty good price on maple syrup, among the lowest. I can’t stand to buy less than a gallon at a time because buying less means not as good a price, and we will go through a gallon in 2 – 4 months. If we didn’t use much I’d buy less, but we do, and especially around the holidays or when we make ice cream a lot in the summer. Even a couple tbsp. a day adds up!
Heini’s Cheese House
- 6 lbs. mozzarella cheese ($25)
- 7 lbs. sharp cheddar cheese ($31)
- 1 lb. Parmesan cheese ($6)
- 1/2 lb. Swiss cheese ($4)
The prices were not quite as good as I had hoped. They did have “cheese ends” in one area, and those were all around $3/lb. Unfortunately they mostly had mild cheddar and I didn’t want that. Buying in large blocks or wheels lowered the price to around $4/lb. which was still very good. I plan to cut up the cheddar into 1 or 2-lb. blocks and freeze some. I plan to shred most of the mozzarella, which I’ll freeze in 1-lb. packages. We’ll use the mozzarella for pita pizzas mostly, and the cheddar for all kinds of different things ( snacks alone or with crackers, on taco salad, in quesadillas, etc.).
All in all it was a successful shopping day!
Organizing My Pantry
I’m posting next Tuesday on Food…Your Way about organizing your pantry! So you can hop over there and read it when it goes live. I’ll try to remember to come back here and link to it once it is live in case you’re reading this in the future.
Suffice to say: it is not how I want it to be right now. But it is a lot better.
Saving Money By Using Pantry Staples
Having these pantry staples on hand is going to save me money, obviously. I’ve been using quite a bit of my spices as I’ve been busy making applesauce and apple butter this week. I have about a quart of apple butter (in half-pints and pints) and 15 quarts of applesauce. My kids have probably eaten at least 3 quarts of applesauce too. They beg for it for snacks every time they see it! Which is…constantly, since I am always cooking a pot these days.
I’d intended to have more details for you on saving money, but sadly, I have spent nearly all my time in the kitchen this week, and I’ve been flying by the seat of my pants with a meal plan. I’m still scrambling to actually use some of the supplies to fortify my freezer and pantry stash of prepared foods. So unfortunately I don’t have any good answers for you yet. Hopefully when I get my bearings in the next week or so, I will have a better idea of exactly how this will help me and I’ll be able to share some amazing tips with you. I hope.
Was this helpful to you, to see all that I was able to buy? Are you inspired to look for deals in your area? I hope so!
Do you do major stock-ups or bulk buying? Any sources or tips to share?
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