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Organic Bulk Buying

 
Posts: 3
Location: Berwick, ME
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Hi All:

My first time posting here. I really appreciate all the wisdom of this group.

Does anyone run or belong to a bulk buying club for shelf-stable items? There is so little organic food (no coops) here where I live and virtually no good health food stores nearby. We just move to Southern Maine from Southern Oregon where we were so spoiled with organic items available at numerous locations near us.

Years ago when I lived in Hawaii I belonged to a great buying club because of the same situation. I'm thinking of starting one in our community and wonder who are the distributors who sell bulk items. We really like a lot of Bob's Red Mill products (especially gluten-free) but they no longer let you purchase frromo their website. I refuse to support Jeff Bezos and of course, Amazon is the first thing that comes up when doing a Google search for bulk food buying. One of the only stores that is within reasonable driving range from our home is Whole Foods and I don't want to support it. Plus they don't really have a good bulk section.

I'm sure there are many others wanting to have a good amount of food on hand, especially in the winter, and don't want to support all the packaging of smaller quantities and waste precious fuel driving back and forth to stores that are a distance away. I welcome a good discussion on this important topic.

BTW, this is our first year in our home and we put in a food forest that gave us hundreds of pounds of produce which I have canned, frozen, dehydrated, and fermented. I am so grateful for these methods of extending and preserving this wonderful food.

Amrita of Berwick Food Forest Garden, Berwick, Maine
 
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Do you have an Azure Standard dropoff location by you?
 
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Location: Central Maine (Zone 5a)
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Hi Amrita,
Glad you decided to post here. And welcome to Maine as well. I list North of you maybe 90 minutes or so. I don't know of any bulk buying clubs, but there is FarmDrop and a few similar around in Maine. I also don't live very far from a group of Amish folk in Unity/Thorndike. I know they sometimes buy in food in bulk, but I've never asked if I could get in on it. If you were to get something going, send me a purple moosage. I might be interested in something like that. It would be a bit of a drive to meet for exchanges, but with bulk you don't have to go every week.
 
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I'm in a different country, so the bulk places I know will be different from yours, but it might work in a similar way so I'll share what I've learned.

I started my own organic bulk buying group. What i did is look around online for the best prices on what we are looking for, and figure shipping/freight costs into it, and then I would send an email out asking who would want to order (my list was made up of friends and members of the local permaculture and homeschooling groups).

I found it easiest to offer set amounts, so I'd divide a box/bag up into equal parts and offer either a full box, half a box, or a quarter of a box, or I'd offer a price for set amounts by weight, with a minimum weight order for each item, as it takes time to divide things up and it's way easier to deal with people who want to order full bags of things.

Some places will happily sell wholesale if you explain what you are doing and ask if you can have access to wholesale prices, others are easier to order with their retail websites (some have free shipping for retail orders but not wholesale).
 
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Hi all,
Just joined this amazing forum 🤗

I am looking for people who participate in bulk buying or any other direct sales of produce in order to see if we can help better organize these complex operations.

We’ve created a modern collaborative tool that can help facilitate all of bulk/group buying manual work.

Is this relevant to anyone here?

Thanks you 🙏
Shai
 
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Azure Standard and wholesale from Glory Bee Honey, both out of Oregon.
 
Posts: 23
Location: Oxford county Maine
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This is my first actual post! Hello all!

This may be late but we’re new to Maine (as of nov 2022) and have landed in Hartford.. and wow, do we miss the variety and convenience of, well, most cities we’ve lived. Don’t get me wrong, the beauty and quiet of Maine *more* than makes up for it!.. but we still miss it.

We were hoping to find local farms to purchase from and are still on the lookout but since it’s winter and most businesses in Maine don’t seem to know the internet exists we have had to postpone our local scouting trips until spring. 😃  

Anyway, before moving to Maine and even when we lived in a big city we used Misfits Market for their organic fresh food delivery as neither my partner nor I like shopping. Delivery is always preferred! And if you shop their sales and more in-season items it is a superb deal with delivery. Since moving here we had to stop using it though because for the first time their packing has been atrocious, with items breaking or being squished or just missing. That has never happened anywhere else we’ve lived. Hopefully they’ll improve here later.

We also especially love to buy bulk organic staples delivered because we cook most of our foods from scratch and go through a lot by weight— and wow, prices (and just availability of organic foods here in rural Maine) have been a bit shocking, I must say. Right now the best prices and quality we’ve found are at CountryLifeFoods dot com. Their buckwheat groats, cornmeal, oats, millet, starches and gluten can’t be beat. We even found poppy seeds as well as all of the organic dried beans you could want, including my fav Lima which have been crazy hard to find organic. Everything has been superb and the best prices I could find anywhere, including Amazon. They ship free over $100 so that’s always how much we order.

As a bonus I’ve also planted a heaping spoonful each of all of the whole grains we’ve bought (and all have grown!) and so will be adding millet, buckwheat, oat, quinoa and Teff to my yard this year for the birds. Everything we bought has grown. Can’t wait to see which they prefer and or if any would be easily harvested and eaten by us. I love planting random things to see what’ll happen. This is going to be fun. It’s another reason I like trying new whole grains too.. because then I can plant them!
 
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Hi, Manda, welcome to the forum!

I, too, love misfits.

We recently had to make a trip to the big city to buy a freezer.  While we were there we stopped at the local franchise grocery store.

What I pay at Misfits for organic grass-fed sirloin that store wanted $30.00 for something I pay $6.00 for.

During the summer most cities or counties have a Farmers' Market where you can buy directly from the local farmers.

There is also something called CSA where you can buy shares from local farmers:

https://www.localharvest.org/csa/
 
Manda Bell
Posts: 23
Location: Oxford county Maine
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Indeed. We love a CSA— both subscribing to and volunteering for. Though for us that peaked in Colorado. We haven’t joined another since. Misfits has helped bridge that gap for us in multiple locations. California had a delicious organic market seemingly on almost every corner, which was epic. In Texas there were none worth using in our area. It really does vary widely, as I’m sure you know! We’ve moved a lot… it’s so diff everywhere.

Since moving here we’ve checked the websites we’ve been able to find regarding farmers markets or CSAs in our new rural area of Maine and haven’t found much promising info yet. Many dead links or now-dead websites. Though we’re hoping something pops up this spring. We’ll see. Fingers crossed!
 
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