Wednesday, September 7, 2011

My First Produce Auction - Part 1

I attended my first produce auction a couple weeks ago. I have read about produce auctions before from one of my favorite bloggers Jennifer from Getting Ahead. She had blogged a couple times about attending produce auctions and I have always been fascinated. After doing some research I went with Julie from and together we made a road trip to see what it was all about.

What is a produce auction? It's like any other auction, your just bidding on fruits and vegetables. You register and get a number. Sellers lay out the produce on carts and pallets (or leave the really large lots in their wagons) and you can walk around and inspect all the items prior to the start of the sale. The auctioneer starts the bidding and the highest bidder wins the lot. For this particular auction the produce being sold must be grown within 100 miles of the auction house. Special consideration is made for anything not considered local.

When we rolled into our destination I was giddy with excitement at the sites. The auction was mostly supplied if not fully supplied by Amish farmers. There were horses and wagons everywhere and children and men busily unloading produce onto carts and pallets.

I was surprised at how much there was to look at. There was probably 50 different pallets/carts of produce. Some carts would have multiple items on it. For instance it would have 8 boxes of Jalapeno peppers, 4 boxes of tomatoes, 2 boxes of beans, and 6 watermelon. Others would just be a cart full of only one item like watermelon or cantaloupe. I wasn't sure exactly how the bidding was going to go. Would I have to buy the whole cart? Was each item sold separately?

After walking around and viewing all they had to offer the auctioneer finally got things going. The first cart had zucchini. Lots of zucchini. It was in boxes of 25 and the auctioneer was selling 3 boxes of 25. Bidding started at $1 and went up from there. Those 3 boxes of zucchini sold for $3 a box and the buyer would pay $3 x 3 boxes or $9.
(sorry for the turned picture, thank you Blogger for being picky tonight)

Later down the line was a cart of 16 cantaloupe. The bidder won that cart for $.65 per cantaloupe x 16. It was then I started to realize if I was going to bid I would be bidding on a large about of produce at once. There were a few smaller lots, but not many.

The bidding went quick and you had to listen carefully to what was being auctioned off. I got a fast lesson on bushel, peck, #1 and #2 tomatoes as well as some other produce auction lingo that I still don't think I understand.

I made a mental note of what I had wanted to bid on at the begging of the auction. My list included...

Green Beans

Are you dying to know what I won? Stay tuned to find out.


  1. I have the itch to go back - this time for apples, potatoes, pumpkins, etc. Can't wait and trying to arrange to go with a friend next week. They are just so much fun!

  2. Where are these produce auctions? I would LOVE to check one out!!!

  3. ditto, where is the produce auction? Are you bidding against grocery stores?

  4. This is such a cool tip.. I just googled Produce auctions in my area and we have one about 20 minutes away...I never realized there was such a thing. As a kid my grandparents would take me to antique auctions and I always thought that was interesting. I'm going to call them to see what times/how they work it:) This seems like it would be great for people who freeze/can. I could just imagine all the zucchini bread I could make and enjoy year round:) Yum! I'll let you know how it worked out! Can't wait to see what you got!

  5. I found one of these not too far from us...we went today. Super fun!! I'm blogging about my experience there later as I forgot my camera...stupid! I also got a lot of great things at Stringtown Amish Bulk Food Store. Have you heard of it? I posted here:
    Can't wait to read about your produce auction purchases!! :-)