Buying Local Bulk Produce: Plow Boy Auction

Despite being very pregnant, I took my 8 children to the Plow Boy Produce auction, a local amish produce auction, to see if we couldn’t find a deal on some bushels of green beans.  Last year, I was able to can a lot of our own home grown green beans but, unfortunately, this year the few green bean plants that survived the piglet garden invasion aren’t doing anything but wilting over and dying on me.  In the end, we didn’t get any green beans at the auction this time…but we came home with other amazing deals!

We arrived as the big lots were being auctioned off by the wagon load.  The Amish men and boys would drive their team of mules with their wagon load of food to be auctioned off through the middle of the large auction barn as people were standing on both sides eyeing the produce.  The auctioneer would announce the lots of food that were being auctioned off, the minimum amount of bags or boxes you were bidding on and the starting price.  Then the excitement started!

Finally, after my 10 year old bid on 100 watermelons and my 4 year old knocked over a bushel of cucumbers….some smaller lots came up for bid.   When I wasn’t distracted by people tapping me on the shoulder asking if all those kids were mine and telling me stories about how they came from a family of 6 or 8 or more…I was able to bid on a ton of food for my family for very little money! 

Here’s what we brought home:

  • 5 bags of fresh sweet corn picked that morning and that were pesticide free and non-gmo for $6 a bag.  That’s 250 lbs of corn! 
  • 20 lbs of tomatoes for $3.00!!!  That’s $.15 cents a pound!  Wow!
  • Bushel of Italian zucchini squash (42lbs)
  • Bushel of Round ball zucchini (42 lbs)
  • 1/2 bushel of summer yellow squash (20lbs)
  • Peck of purple hull peas for $3  (10 lbs)
  •  6 lbs of potatoes for $1
  • 10 pounds of yellow squash for $.25 cents!! (That was basically free squash!  Everyone had enough squash I guess)
  • Pint of cayenne peppers for $.15 cents. 

It was an exciting day getting all that food for $48 bucks! 

I’m hoping to continue to visit the auction this summer and see if I can’t stock my freezer and stocking my pantry with good, wholesome, non-gmo, real local food, for less! 

This week I’m going to be blogging about how I’m putting all this food up in my pantry and freezer!  Stay Tuned…I have lots to post!!!!!

Here are the links to the blog posts about how I’m preserving this food for my freezer and pantry:

  1. Preserving Food:  Freezing Corn
  2. Shredded Zucchini and Freezing Corn
  3. Preserving Food for the Pantry:  Canning Peaches
  4. Canning Squash, Zucchini and Tomatoes
  5. Canning Peach Jam
  6. Canning for the Home Pantry

17 comments on “Buying Local Bulk Produce: Plow Boy Auction

  1. Wow!  I wish we had a place around here like that.  We have a small garden this year, and we’ve gone to some local pcik-your-own farms for strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries, but still…I could really get excited about that much food for so little money.

  2. Oh my goodness. When’s the next one? We’ll drive up!!  Seriously, I’m ridiculously proud of and happy for you. But I also want to cry a little knowing that I spent $3 on one bunch of cilantro and a head of cauliflower today.  20 lbs of tomatoes for $3!! Wow…wow…

    • The Plow Boy auction is an amazing resource we found around here… 

      It’s a produce auction that sells the Amish produce.  It runs from May to October every year.  It is Monday, Wednesday and Friday every week from 1 pm in the afternoon to whenever they sell out (usually around 5 to 6 pm). 

      It is very seasonal too…  As of this week there was watermelon, cantaloupe, tomatoes, all sorts of peppers, corn, all kinds of black-eyed peas, few green beans, lots of squashes and zucchini, potatoes, peaches, blackberries, some blueberries, some grapes, pomegranate trees, fig trees, blueberry bushes, grape vines and sweet potato starter plants.  Ok…that’s all I can remember—  there was a lot of food and it changes all the time….

    • Yeah… the box is probably worth $3!  It was crazy!

  3. Wow, that is awesome!!! Wish we had some Amish farmers around here 🙂

  4. Been wondering if you could e-mail me exactly where this auction is….I am in IN, and thought with your Fort Wayne advertisement on the sidebar, you might be too!  Plus, I am near a large amish settlement!  I would LOVE to get non-GMO chemical free bulk produce like that.  The farmer’s market was GREAT yesterday, but that looks even better!
    Blessings, Joy

    • Hi Joy…  No I’m not in Fort Wayne… 

      The auction is near Ethridge, Tennessee which is south, middle Tennessee located near a very large old order Amish community. 

      Even at this auction, not all the food is organic as many Amish farmers are not organic growers. 

      I’m really concerned about the GMO food.  It is going to become a huge issue very soon and our children will be dealing with it in the future.  I read an article about how 70% of grocery store food contains genetically modified food ingredients— and most of which we don’t even know if it is genetically altered or not?  So there is little choice for the consumer to choose whether or not to buy.  I suspect most people would avoid it if they knew! 

      It’s not just in the junk food….  it’s affecting the produce section of the grocery store as well!

  5. I love Etheridge! I go every year and stock up. Luckily, I only live 40 minutes away so we go every other week. If you get the chance, go to their houses and buy from them directly. They have the BEST strawberries I’ve ever had. Completely organic! I make preserves and no other brand can compare.

Leave a Reply