What would you do with 380 lbs of ripe tomatoes?
Yesterday afternoon, I got a hankering for roasted tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner. I called down to the produce house to see if they had any flats of organic on-the-vine tomatoes, and sure enough, they said they did - "but they are on the ripe side." Well, I figured that would work for me because I was planning on using them for dinner.
I picked up two flats and headed to the cashier. The flats usually sell for about $22 to $25, but I figured they would be on sale since the tomatoes were ripe and had to be sold as quickly as possible. Just by comparison, Whole Foods sells these tomatoes for as much as $6.99/lb - and there are 11 lbs in a flat.
What I didn't expect was to find out that the produce house would offer me the ridiculously low price of $2 per flat. Wow! I quickly decided to buy ALL the remaining flats of tomatoes, which turned out to be 37. I have a contact list of about 40 people who regularly order through my co-op drop point and/or split produce with me, so I started calling them to see if they were interested in getting any. By the time I had even gone half-way through my list, all the flats that I had extra had been spoken for. I was passing them on for $3/flat because the produce house adds sales tax, and I spent a couple of hours buying, loading, and unloading it all, as well as being busy all evening with people coming and picking up their tomatoes.
This is my van after I took out about 10 more flats
Oh, I also bought 15 loaves of organic 9-grain bread from Alpine Valley Bakery, but that seems rather small by comparison now. The bakery sells them for $4/loaf, while the produce house has them for $2/loaf. Still a bit more than my homemade bread, but my family loves this particular one for toast and sandwiches.
For dinner alone, we went through two loaves of bread and two flats of tomatoes (I made enough soup to last for lunch today, too). Can't wait to have more of it in just a little bit! I also dried some overnight in my dehydrator, and packed them in olive oil this morning. I have one more flat left that I had saved for myself, which I am probably going to make into spaghetti sauce and enchilada sauce for dinners this week.
If I had been more ambitious, I really should have kept more than just 5 of the flats for myself and canned diced tomatoes and tomato sauce for our family, to save even more money in the future, but with it being close to Thanksgiving and me having a very busy "week off", I didn't think I could swing that.
Let it never be said I passed up a good deal! :)