Wednesday, November 4, 2015

To The Auction We Go

In case you haven't figured it out yet, we live in an Amish community. Great people, great neighbors! The hardware, the building supply, the sheet metal, the feed mill, most saw mills, etc. are Amish. I bought a 1000 board feet of assorted width 8 foot pine lumber for $0.45 per board foot. It was charged at 8 foot lengths, but they all varied from a little over 8 feet to about 10 feet. I haven't seen any under 8 feet. The widths were about 6 inches to 12 plus inches wide. Varying widths all mixed together.

Metal roofing: we have gotten heavy gauge left over roofing for $1.00 per foot. Some is 4 feet long, some is 12 feet long, and the rest is in between. I load it on the trailer and stop in and tell them how much I have. They never checked. I just pay and leave. It was by my count. There are assorted colors. That is fine with us. And the poultry don't mind either. We are burying it 12 to 15 inches vertically around the poultry house to deter digging predators.

There are several salvage stores around. We prefer the larger one (with the deli and bakery- very sinful). (The hot buttered pretzels are over an inch thick and about as wide as my hand. They alone are worth the drive. And, oh so soft! And with lots of butter – real butter!) We got 14 ounce boxes of Campbell's tomato soup (various varieties) for $0.50 per box. We got a banana box filled with bags of popcorn for $3.00. They have repackaged spices (it appears they buy a 50 pound bag of sage or dill or whatever and fill small containers from that). The spices are not name branded, but appear to be quite good, and cheap. Fiona had a problem with the cinnamon. It was a lot stronger than what she was used to. She is using a lot of the spices in her canning. I haven't heard any complaints yet. We got quilted 12 ounce jelly jars for $8 and something. We're using them for spice jars. Working great! Some people might not like that, but it works great for us. It seals wonderfully, nice quilting, we can see the contents, we can write on them. Better than most stores bottles. Canning jars are $8.74 per dozen. Kellogg's Raisin Bran in a smashed box (inside bag is still sealed, just the box is damaged) was $1.50. Others were about the same. They have damaged goods, expired goods, and new goods. All at good prices. We pick up a pretzel and a few things, and ten boxes of canning jars. Next trip, a pretzel, a few other things, and ten more boxes of jars. We had this collection of new, empty jars. It is rapidly disappearing as she cans. We still have the jars, they are just being filled with edibles. 

Canned tomatoes, salsa, green tomato mincemeat and tomato sauce waiting to go to the basement storage area.

 We got here too late to put in a garden. We thought we might get a fall garden put in, but there was just too many things going on. And still are. The solution was the Amish produce auction. It costs $5.00 per year to join and get an auction number and $1.00 per lot bought or sold. That number and the $5.00 entitles you to buy or sell. Don't scratch your nose during the auction. That's how I got the turnips. I don't even remember them being auctioned, but I bought them! Wednesday was the last auction for this year. We got 4 boxes of canning tomatoes at 20 pounds each for $4.50 per box. That is $18.00 plus the 1 dollar for the lot equals $19.00 for 80 pounds of tomatoes. We got 2 – 10 pound boxes of green tomatoes at $6.50 per box. We got 3 pecks of peppers for $5.00 each (these were large yellow, red, purple, white, and orange peppers. Top quality.). A ½ bushel of large, beautiful, red peppers was $10.00. We got 4 – 20 pound boxes of no. 2 tomatoes at $10.00 per box. (That is $0.50 per pound for no. 2 tomatoes.) We got 4 pecks of green tomatoes (one of them was red) for $6.00 per peck. I paid $10.00 for a bushel of large green peppers. Large stuffing peppers - $2.50 per peck for 2 pecks. Red tomatoes – 5 pecks at $2.50 per peck. And the pumpkins Fiona mentioned. For $16.25 plus the $1.00 each for 4 lots equals $20.25 for over 300 pounds of squash/pumpkins. Most will be winter treats for the poultry. And us!!! Several have already been gifted to neighbors and friends. 


It is hard to figure out, but we got about 180 pounds of tomatoes plus 9 pecks of tomatoes. That is almost 300 pounds of tomatoes.

We got 1.5 bushel of peppers and 5 pecks. I thick that works out to 2.75 bushels of peppers.

And over 300 pounds of squash/pumpkins.

Price tag: $182.05 total. We drove away with over 600 pounds of food for us and the poultry for $182.05. 

Our load of produce purchased at the Hart County Produce Auction.
 About 10 days prior, we paid out $230.00. We got almost 300 pounds of tomatoes, 6.5 bushel of peppers, 3 pecks of onions, the 1 peck of turnips (nose scratcher?), and 3 bags of cabbage. There were 14 heads of cabbage in each bag and the heads weighed 5 to 6 pounds each. That means the heads cost less than $0.90 each. At the IGA supermarket, cabbage was $0.79 per pound. Maybe this will help explain why the jars are filling up. The dehydrator is running almost non-stop, also. And the deep freeze has a lot more in it, too.

The first trip had about the same amount of tomatoes, almost 4 more bushel of peppers, and add the cabbage and onions. All for $48.00 more. All of the produce has been really nice, top grade. 


This isn't a lot of variety, but it is better than nothing. And at a good price. We'll try to get the variety next year with our garden. 

Price breakdown for The October 12th sale at the Produce Auction.

Fiona and I were just talking. Is this a sign of the times? People are living in town and, according to them, they don't have room for a garden. Why don't they go to a produce auction or a farmers market or CSA or do something to get food to preserve? Yet, they mow a 1 to 5 acre plus yard? When buying jars, every time we would hear: “That is a lot of work” or “That is too much work”. It is better than starving or GMO's or pesticides. From the looks, we are just weird! The price worked out nicely for us.

Look around your community for good deals. Often, they are there waiting for you to discover them. We had seen the auction, but didn't realize it was for anyone – like us. Our insurance agent told us about it and explained how it works.

God has blessed us in so many ways. This place, the neighbors, the businesses, etc. are all a blessing. And, of course, I have Fiona!

We hope and pray that God blesses you too.

Ralph and Fiona


  1. forget 'variety'.
    you certainly won't starve, which was the goal of our ancestors.
    variety you can t with spices and sauces.
    basic mexican, indian, italian, chinese and thai spices and sauces and you won't even know it is the same thing you ate yesterday!!
    that popcorn will make cozy winter evening snacking when the snow flies outside and the cocoa is passed around inside!!

    so happy for you!!

    1. The salvage store has a wonderful selection of spices and spice blends we are taking advantage of!

  2. What wonderful prices! Such a blessing to be in that part of the country.

    We live in a landscape area too, where folks will mow 3 or 5 acres of grass and think that's normal. Every time I drive by I think, at least they could graze a few animals! They could feed somebody!

    1. We drove to Lancaster, KY., yesterday to order our new table and chairs (another post). The drive took us through a lot of farm country but near Danville there were mega huge homes with fancy fencing, security gates with camera's and 5 to 10 acres of manicured lawn. The waste drives us crazy. They need to read your blog!