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Produce Auctions - a New Way to shop for Fruits and Vegetables

Updated on August 29, 2009

I recently experienced a first in shopping for food - going to a produce auction.  I only wish that I had discovered this type of shopping sooner.  My son and I had so much fun and we got some really great deals.  After doing a quick Google search, I was able to spot produce auctions in quite a few states, and I hope there is one in yours too.

Farmer's markets have gotten pretty pricey over the past couple of years.  In fact, their prices are sometimes double to triple the price of the exact same produce at the grocery store.  Lately I have been very turned off on farmer's markets and have taken to growing my own produce or stopping at road side stands.  I like to buy lots of fresh fruits and vegetables in the summer and freeze or can them for the winter months.  A produce auction is perfect for this type of need. 

I found the prices to be great on most things.  After talking to several people there, I realized that during peak season you can get rock bottom prices, but at the beginning and end of a food's season the prices can sky rocket.  For instance, the week I went blackberries were selling for $23 a flat, but the week before they had been selling for $13 a flat.  The season was waning and the prices were rising.

Produce auctions are just that - auctions.  I had to sign up for a number and raise my card to bid on an item.  I didn't win everything I bid on, but we had a great time and I certainly got what I went there for.  Be careful not to get caught up in the moment though or you could pay way too much for an item.  The auction I went to auctions produce to grocery stores as well as individuals.  Semi trucks come and haul off pallets of fresh foods picked that morning.  Pay attention to what you are bidding for, because you probably don't want to win an auction for 150 watermelon or eight bags of corn (5 dozen ears in a bag!).

If you want to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables in bulk for processing and preserving, find a produce auction near you for the best prices. For instance, a dozen ears of corn at the farmer's market near me is $5.50 a dozen.  I won an auction for two bags and it worked out to be $1 a dozen.  It almost made me want to open a fruit and vegetable stand and stock it with deals from the produce auction. 

At a produce auction you are buying directly from the farmers, which is definitely appealing to me.  The farmers were there milling about right along with the buyers.  I talked to several and learned a lot about the entire process.  It was fascinating and a great experience.  I spent an exhausting few days processing my great bargains, but I couldn't be happier.  I have found a new way to get affordable fresh fruits and vegetables and I hope you can find a produce auction near you.


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    • Nemingha profile image

      Nemingha 8 years ago

      I know I can't be trusted at any type of auction - but for those who have more impulse control, a produce auction sounds great!

    • dohn121 profile image

      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Where I lived in Upstate NY, there was a countless number of farmer's markets everywhere you went and they were pricey. However, most of them were geared towards the tourist that go there for pumpkin picking and to drop junior off to college, and so the locals know to not shop at them. But these places always seem to do well, overpriced as they are. Auctions are certainly a good alternative. Thank you, Jennifer.