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Friday, November 1, 2013

Feeding a family of 5 on $170/month: the produce stand clearance sale

I'm not posting this for bragging sake, but wanted to show you what's possible by shopping an open-air produce stand's clearance sale. I realize that in many parts of the country, produce stands are shuttered already for the winter. However, in some of the southern tier states, produce stands will continue for a few more weeks. And, this is information that can be tucked away for use next year.

Open-air produce stands typically have great prices. Not to be confused with a farrner's market, I'm talking about the type of place that sits by the side of a highway, has 1 owner/operator, has minimal exterior walls, and is semi-permanently set up. With such exposure to the elements, they close for winter and open again in spring, when threat of frost is reduced.

This morning was my fav produce stand's clearance day. It's always Nov.1. They open at 8 AM to a waiting crowd. I scouted out their supply earlier this week, and picked up a few things I thought they might run short of. But today, I went for their clearance sale, and bought all of this for


Yes, that's right, 4 sugar pumpkins, 3 delicata squash, 3 acorn squash, 2 buttercup squash,

10 lbs of oranges, some golden delicious apples, 3 limes, 2 grapefruit,

4 green bell peppers, a bag of marked down pimento peppers, a dozen heads of garlic, and 4 avocados, for $22.76.

I already have quite a bit of fresh produce in storage here. Adding what I bought this morning, it looks like we have enough fresh produce to last through the end of the year, if need be.

You'll notice that for the most part, I stuck with good keeping produce. I won't worry about losing any produce to spoilage, should we not eat all of this soon.

As we're always interested in other people's prices, here's what I paid today:

apples -- 39 cents/lb.
sugar pumpkins -- 29 cents/lb
assorted squash -- 33 cents/lb
limes -- 20 cents/each
ruby red grapefruit -- 50 cents/each (bit of a splurge for us)
garlic -- 3 heads/ $1
avocados -- 4/ $1
green bell pepper -- 39 cents/each
bag of 12 pimento pepper -- 99 cents
10 lb bag of small navel oranges -- $4.49

I think I'll be able to beat some of their other prices just before Thanksgiving, such as on potatoes, and celery.

I'd say, for the month of November, we're off to a good start.


  1. I remember the good haul you made last year at this stand. Definitely a place to have a date with at the end of the season. Happy eating.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      I'll have to go back and see what I bought at last year's clearance. It's always slightly different, depending on what's left that last day.

  2. Wow! That's quite a haul! I've actually discovered that there is a produce stand not far from me, but unfortunately I think it's already closed for the season. But maybe next year I'll get it together and go check it out.

    1. Hi Cat,
      That's great! They'll probably open somewhere in early April, just in time for asparagus season!

  3. As they say in da U.P; holy wah! Seriously, nice haul with great prices! Our peppers are on sale for 1.39 lb. We can only dream of such savings.
    I just found your blog; love it!
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi momsav,
      Hmm, they sell green peppers here by the item, so I wonder just how many peppers would be in a pound, and what the per pound price would be. I may just have to go weigh one to compare my price to yours.

      Glad you like my blog! :)

  4. What a great haul, especially all those pumpkins and squash that will keep for a long time :)

    I got a tray of mangoes recently at a roadside stall, but they weren't quite as cheap as your prices (but so tasty!).

    1. Hi Liz,
      you must be just entering the great produce season in your part of the world! Mangoes -- yum!


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