Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Tomato order is done………..

At the end of May, I talked to a man who offered our church group a chance to purchase some produce at a great price. He was the friend of a farmer, from Hempstead, Texas, who’s main crop was tomatoes and watermelons. He also grew a smaller crop of squash, bell peppers, cucumbers, and cantaloupes. They offered us a 33 lb. box of steak tomatoes for $ 11.50 a box, same poundage of roma’s for $ 10.50 a box, big watermelons for $ 3.00 each and so forth. With food prices on the rise, I knew it was a good deal. I talked to our church group and they were excited about it so we scheduled some canning classes to teach people how to can tomatoes. Since we are not allowed to collect money on church property, we sent out the order form via email and had everyone mail in their “outside” orders.

Since many of the ladies were going to can their tomatoes, we ordered 30 copies of a book called, “So Easy to Preserve” at $ 15.00 each. The book is put out by the University of Georgia, it is 375 pages of information on canning, freezing and drying and it is awesome. I had pre-ordered these books and put it on my charge account and prayed that we would sell them all. I offered them as a first come, first served offer, letting people know that I only had a limited supply. Well, we sold all of them and are working on order # 2. Once you see the book, it sells itself.

Back to the tomatoes: To make a long story short, we ended up buying almost 300 boxes of tomatoes, over 300 watermelons, and assorted boxes of the peppers, cucumbers, squash and cantaloupes. The order was so big that we divided the orders into two groups and had two different locations to deliver to. Thursday morning our first delivery was made and we off loaded the produce, inventoried it, divided it up and send it home with all of the purchasers. Each person that ordered a book picked it up with their order. Everything went off without a hitch. Yesterday, Friday, the second order was delivered. They were short seven boxes of roma tomatoes and 4 watermelons. With a few apologies and some refunding, the delivery went relatively well. We did these deliveries around 9:00am. and were finished by 11:00am. We have been getting rain in the afternoons, so we missed the rains on both days, thank goodness! I had planned to take pictures of all of this but I was so busy with the deliveries that I just didn’t have time to take any pictures.

Now, the good news! The farmer is considering doing a co-op with us. I am keeping my fingers crossed that it will come thru. We will get fresh produce at below grocery store prices and make shopping a little less strenuous. Farm co-ops are an up and coming way to help you, the consumer, save money and help the farmer sell his crop.

Have a great week everyone!


At 12:00 PM, Blogger Diane @ Diane's Place said...

Boy, y'all did get a good deal! I was just wishing yesterday that I had a big sweet watermelon. Our local ones should be ready anytime now.

Hope you're having a good weekend, Miss Lucy. :o)

Love and hugs,


At 7:50 PM, Blogger Fred said...

What an amazing deal. You're right...with food prices spiraling, this is a great way to save money and everybody wins.

Congrats on a job well done.

At 8:43 PM, Blogger Jess said...

Too bad we don't live closer... I would love some garden tomatoes and a fresh watermelon...sounds so good, and you guys got a great deal.

Hope you are having a wonderful weekend and thank you for all of your kind comments on my blog.

At 9:47 PM, Blogger Jan said...

Wonderful tips and I can't wait for our tomatoes to start bringing on the goods. Thanks Lucy

At 11:55 PM, Blogger OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

All I could think about was the Salmonella Scare and Tomatoes! I have no idea if this reached you all in R=Texas, but it certainly reached us here in Los Angeles!

What a GREAT deal Lucy! Good For You!

At 12:07 AM, Blogger Jim said...

Those co-ops are a good thing. We had on for the longest, 12 shares, some had more than one of the 12.
Items at the Farmer's Market sell generally by the dozen (48, 36, etc.) so most food orders were divisible by twelve.
I think each share chipped in a multiple of five dollars (I don't think it was $25) every two weeks. One share owner would shop then with the money each two weeks.
I will be home tomorrow from Fredericksburg, we are in Katy tonight. Monday we should take off for blogstock and then Colorado.

Rest your arm up good, don't hurt it worse.

At 7:38 AM, Blogger Lucy Stern said...

Diane, I bought six watermelons and am getting them out to my friends.

Fred - Thanks. I hope we can work out the terms of the co-op.

Jessica - I wished we lived closer too. I would love to take care of Emily once in a while.

Jan - Our tomatoes are about done. The heat is taking it's tole. I hopeyou get some good ones.

Naomi - We had the salmonella scare here too but we considered that in the process. The tomatoes in Texas were not in the stores yet and this farmer does not fertilize with manure so we weren't worried about his crop.

Jim - We were in a co-op about 20 years ago. We had 12 people and we paid $ 10.00 each. Everyone took turns going down to farmers market, on Airline, and buying the food. They would come back, divide up the produce, and then the people would come pick up. When they picked up, they would give their ten dollars, to the driver scheduled for the next run. We are hoping this will run as smoothly.

Have a fun with your travels, take lots of pictures at blog stock and let's hope that ADI gets her bed FYI: My arm is better this morning, but it is still tender.

At 2:04 PM, Blogger Putz said...

i had so much to say to you, i commented and do you know how many cusers there are to scroll you down, well i scrolled to get more space and wham, my comment disappered, i had written so much, and gone in an instant, my paf5 is just like that,,,my concerns....are you your ward's canning people come to you with food orders and you take it to the cannery and fill and can stuff for them and then return it to them....i do that for 350 peole in our the SHACK WAS NUMBER ONE ON THE BEST SELLER'S LIST, check it out in your sunday paper, so yes i read a wierd book, also the good guy and three cus of, my tomatoes are a disaster...i know my cold nights killed them

At 2:57 PM, Blogger Lucy Stern said...

Putz - I am the Stake Dry Pack Specialist. We get a canning date only once a month, which is the first Tuesday of each month. We will be going up there This coming Tuesday to do Dry Packing. In our stake, if you want to can you have to come do it yourself. We are not allowed to let people "take orders" and come in and can for others. I sometimes turn my back when it comes to shut-ins and others that just can't come in.

The last few months at the cannery have been "crazy". I have had to limit what my people can take to six cases per family. The wheat and rice have been limited to 50 lbs. for the last three months. Last week the place looked like a ghost town with only 7 of the 21 or so items we normally carry. Luckly last Thursday, a truck came in and we are in much better shape. We are out of white wheat, but have plenty of red.

Did you see the last price changes dated, June 21st? Go to your Provident living webpage and check it out. Wheat and rice are up but Dry milk went down substancially.

Do you do any home canning? Go check out the book, I was talking about on my post, "So Easy to Preserve". It is totally awesome for canning, freezing and drying.

TF and I planted 12 tomato plants this year and they have done relatively good considering the heat. I think it is because they only get partical sun instead of full sun. It only cools down to about 85 degrees here at night so the cool nights don't get them. Right now the heat is about to take them, they are on their last leg, but the tomatoes we did get were terrific. There is nothing like a home grown tomato. Rewrite your comment, or email me at:

At 5:39 PM, Blogger Jim said...

Lucy, that is how ours worked. It was about that long ago too, and could have been $10.

Everytime I see you talk about Blogstock I feel guilty for not offering you a ride.

We aren't driving our car, we are going to Colorado afterwards, and are flying back on the 10th. So I know that wouldn't work for you or the borrowed car.

We plan to leave tomorrow and get up there the evening of the 2nd.

So did you take your general exam yet? I'm not sure I've read all the blog stuff. I have found my update on the call sign search pages now! What a relief!

At 8:12 PM, Blogger Eve said...

I use to can all my left over tomatoes at the end of the season but now I just slice them, put them in a zip lock bag,,get the air out,,label and freeze. It does take up space in our freezer though.
The good thing in addition to saving money, is knowing your produce is safe to eat. It is gettng scary out there. I am glad we raise a little of our own, anyway. Waiting for those watermelon,,which are almost ready now.

At 7:48 AM, Blogger Big Dave T said...

Your post brings back memories of the sweet aroma of tomatoes being canned in my boyhood home kitchen. With the price of vegetables soaring, no wonder that book sold out so quickly..

At 12:12 PM, Blogger LZ Blogger said...

Lucy ~ My wife and I used to belong to a Co-op back in Southern California. I actually thought it was pretty cool! ~ jb///

At 3:51 PM, Blogger Susie said...

Hi Lucy,
What a fantastic deal of the fresh fruit and veggies. I remember learning how to home can tomatoes in my Grandma's kitchen. I haven't done it in some time, but may rethink it this summer as I still have all my supplies.

At 6:25 PM, Blogger Marilyn MonREOW said...

Wow, such an excellent, informative post filled with good tips! Thank you! :)

Purrs and snuggles from Marilyn.

At 9:09 PM, Blogger Mountain Mama said...

You got a wonderful deal! There's nothing as tasty as graden fresh produce, and the canning will really come in handy in the winter when produce prices hit the roof!
What a wonderful idea.

At 11:57 PM, Blogger Jim said...

Hi Lucy -- I talked with Charles yesterday, he passed his Extra over there.
I visited him Wednesday night before the exam and he was fairly discouraged. Everything seemed beyond understanding.
Then I left him my W5YI Q&A book to study from. He said it helped him a lot. It has shorter and easier to understand explainations. Just a sentence or two for most questions.

Tonight we are in Salina, KS, and hope to be in Blair, NE, Super 8 tomorrow night.

I came by to steal my stuffed pepper recipe I left with you so I can give it to Lori.

At 3:20 AM, Blogger Merle said...

Dear Lucy ~~ What a great deal you got and the co-op sounds good for you all and the farmer as well. I like Roma tomatoes best, and many long years ago have picked them with schoolchildren and a couple of nuns.
(who insisted on calling them Roman tomatoes.) Thanks for your comments and kind words about my niece,Vicki.
Take care, my friend, Love, Merle.
I used to make heaps of tomato sauce and Relish.


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