We have had such an overwhelming response to our recent social media post on shopping wholesale! We decided to dedicate this week’s blog to a Professional Wholesale Shopper. We are grateful for this information that has helped us transform our shopping/food hauls, and make this lifestyle possible for our family. Alan is now offering consulting to help families save money on wholesale produce and create Produce Clubs anywhere in the country. We hope you enjoy this as much as we do.
Ten Steps to Wholesale Produce Shopping
1. Be A Professional
You have a certain pride and wish to improve your performance at your work. What about each facet of your life? You want to be a pro at those as well. You need to know how your body works and what items are the best for you. And then you need to know everything about each facet of the process below.
2. Case Volume
Are you going to be able to consume the case before it rots? I suggest forming a group with your family, friends, or like-minded folks. This crew can be on your route to the market or they can come to your home.
You need to store the items when you get them home. Investment of your resources (time and money) into fresh produce is wasted without extra fridges. At least one more if not three more. These can be found on craigslist for $150. Invest in a good, working, large compartment. Then invest in cleaning tools for the fridge coils. Clean them each quarter. Put the extra fridges in the cooler rooms of the house or the basement, if possible. The room the fridge is in needs to be warmer than 50 and cooler than 85 degrees. Fridges will not work below 45 and work too hard above 90. Buy large coolers and ice packs. These can be used to create extra capacity from one to many days as you can rotate the ice packs into the freezers. When you get a bargain Buy It!
4. Places to Buy
This article is only going to address wholesale providers but there are many Club stores like Costco and BJs where you can get fresh fruits and vegetables in bulk. You need to know the bargains they all carry. It may not be an option to wholesale more than once a month.
5. Finding Wholesale Produce Companies
Google the largest city in your area “city produce wholesaler” and find the businesses that describe themselves as “produce wholesalers.” Do this for as many cities that are close.
6. Get Their Information
Once you have found some wholesale produce supply companies that close by, look at their websites, products, and price list. Which ones have the highest overall ratings from customers? Do they adhere to USDA and food safety state standards? Call them. Ask them if they sell what you want (such as certified organic). Ask them if they sell to the public (or do you need a business ID). You may not be able to acquire organic. You may need a business license.
7. Assemble all Your Information
Do any wholesalers meet your needs? If not can you use what they do provide as they will be saving you lots of money? You may not like conventional produce, but it is a workable solution whereas grocery prices are not.
8. Overall Plan
Make a plan of what grocery, club, and wholesale outlets you will use for savings and for backup if one can not supply a need. How far is it to these places? How long will it take to complete the entire shopping process?
Make a purchase at the wholesaler: ask for lower-priced seconds or pick outs RIGHT AWAY. “Hi I am shopping for fruit and veggies (small primary list). I would like to save money … do you have any items that are bargains or seconds?” – It is very important to have your strategy to react to their bargains. Eat their bargains and save! Some items are fixed. I know. Be flexible on the rest.
10. Be Balanced
Be prepared for hard work and charge for your time. Sharing with family at cost is fine. But have it understood that you are performing a job for the group. Otherwise, giving your gas money and time away to folks who are saving $$$ because of your effort defeats the process. Be nice and help out, but not too much.
My name is Alan Ritter. I run a produce “co-op” service in Southern NJ near Philadelphia, whose wholesale produce market I buy from. I have been shopping and sharing since 12/2010. I am willing to consult with you to get you “started” on wholesale produce. My contact info is [email protected] I am on Instagram @2produceclub.
You can read a summary of my business on NJPEN: Organic Produce Buying Club Offers Low-Cost Supermarket Alternative in South Jersey, Philly.
Get Support with Empowered Moms
In the Empowered Moms course, launching its next round February 11th, you will have the opportunity to ask questions and chat with Kimberly and other moms and brainstorm how to make this lifestyle work for your family.
Empowered Moms Returns February 11th!
Gain the tools and confidence to support your family’s health. If you are re-taking the course, make sure to use code returntribe to save!
Eclectic Herbs Giveaway
And make sure to hop on over to my Reclaimers of Health Instagram for our GIVEAWAY with Eclectic Herbs.