Azure Standard Day (AKA the post where I ramble about produce prices and buy tree bark).

Yesterday we picked up our Azure Standard order from our Drop Point in Rickreall.  It was a more unusual order for us. We desperately needed blueberries and I could not find organic or spray free blueberries for a reasonable price for the life of me.  We had gone through our stash of frozen blueberries that we picked from Minto Island Growers quite a while back and we were missing them.

These berries from Azure were the best deal I could find (the picture only shows 5 of the 10 pounds)…and I still almost choked at the price.  I am also lso finding that most fruit prices are at an all time high this time of year for things like apples and pears.  Although this may seem pretty obvious based on the fact that we are only getting farther away from apple season, it has still taken me by surprise.  In season I can get organic apples for close to a dollar, and then they increase steadily.  This time of year it seems that my target price is more like $1.50 or less per pound for pears and apples.  Now that we are going through a larger amount of produce, I am totally feeling this in our grocery bill.  I even bought organic mangos the other day because they were not much more than the cheapest apples.  Can’t wait for more fruit to be coming into season. Alright, enough about fruit prices. Sorry.

Why did we buy this stuff?

The steel cut oats are our favorite cheap healthy breakfast. We brown them in a bit of butter and then soak them overnight.  The next morning we cook them up and add fun toppings.  Maybe I can post more about this later.

The Pau d’ Arco bark is for hubs.  A helpful lady at Life Source recommended it when I had a question about his skin issues and supplements for him. We will use it to make a tea. Mmmm. Tastes like tree.

The Chia Seeds are something Hubs wanted to add to our cooking. This will primarily be added to things he eats before he goes for runs/races.

The Gamma Seal Lids are to go on top of 5 gallon buckets and create a good seal, but are also easy to open.  We will use them for our bulk wheat berries, different oats, and maybe beans.  They are speedy, but we will use them on food safe buckets we are hoping to get for free. This will ensure that our bulk purchases are safe from getting bugs etc.

 

SN431 Late July Bite Size Cheddar Crackers, Organic 5 ozs. 2 0 $2.35 $0.00
CE231 Bulk Steel Cut Oats (whole grain), Organic 25 lbs. 1 1 $18.35 $18.35
HS764 Oregon’s Wild Harvest Pau d’Arco Bark, Cut & Sifted 4 ozs. 1 1 $4.60 $4.60
FG012 Bulk Blueberries, Natural, Frozen, Large 10 lbs. 1 1 $35.00 $35.00
SE099 Bulk Chia Seeds, Whole, Black, Organic 1 lb. 1 1 $5.65 $5.65
NF094 Gamma Gamma Seal Lid for 5 Gallon Plastic Pail 1 each 3 3 $6.75 $20.25
QP138 Fresh Produce Apples, Fuji, Organic 3 lbs. 1 1 $4.25 $4.25

 

If you are curious about how to get started with Azure Standard, you can check out this post.  Also, you can search “Azure Standard” on my blog in the upper right corner for more related posts.

 

-Not paid for this endorsement, just a happy customer.

 

Azure Standard Day

Yesterday was our Azure Standard delivery day at the drop point we use.  My friend and I take turns picking it up and it always feels a little like Christmas.  We always seem to stop at Burgerville, so it is good we don’t pick it up every time. 🙂 We happened to be out of a lot of our bulk items, and I decided to get bigger 25lb bags of oats and beans this time. I also ordered more hard white and soft white wheat berries. I use the wheat berries in my grain mill to make fresh ground flour (it is healthier and makes homemade stuff taste even better).  Hard white is a good average whole wheat (not too dark), and soft white replaces white flour nicely in recipies for pie crusts, cakes, etc.

Here is a list of what I got. Notice that some items did not come.  That is one of the only things about Azure that is a bummer. Sometimes they are out of your stuff and you have to just order it again next time.  They do have a system now that tells you how many of the item is remaining at the time you add the item.  It still catches me by surprise because I often add items to my cart over time and don’t know they are running low on an item. This picture does not include our favorite steel cut oats.  We already cracked into them and forgot to put them in the picture.

CE227 Azure Farm Steel Cut Oats (whole grain), Organic 5 lbs. 1 1 $5.35 $5.35
SW137 Wholesome Sweeteners Brown Sugar, Dark, Organic, Fair Trade 24 ozs. 2 2 $3.95 $7.90
NF595 Tubtrugs LLC Containers, Flexible, 6.5 Gallon Medium, Pistachio 1 unit 1 1 $7.80 $7.80
SN431 Late July Bite Size Cheddar Crackers, Organic 5 ozs. 1 1 $2.40 $2.40
NS920 Eclectic Institute Elderberry Instant Immune POW-der 2.1 ozs. 1 1 $10.75 $10.75
JC117 Crofter’s @North American Superfruit Spread, Organic 11 ozs. 1 1 $3.30 $3.30
NF225 Biokleen Produce Wash 16 ozs. 1 1 $3.60 $3.60
GR064 Azure Farm Wheat Berries, Soft White, Organic 25 lbs. 1 1 $10.50 $10.50
BE006 Bulk Black Beans, Organic (split with a friend) 25 lbs. 1 1 $34.30 $34.30
SE202 Nutiva Chia Seeds, Organic 3 lbs. 1 0 $16.25 $0.00
EO078 Nature’s Alchemy Tea Tree 0.5 oz. 1 1 $4.70 $4.70
EO067 Nature’s Alchemy Eucalyptus 0.5 oz. 1 1 $3.40 $3.40
BE051 Azure Farm White Beans, Small, Navy, Organic 5 lbs. 1 0 $7.45 $0.00
GR111 Bulk Hard White Wheat, Organic 25 lbs. 1 1 $17.25 $17.25
CE134 Bulk Quick Oats, Organic 25 lbs. 1 1 $18.75 $18.75
CE231 Bulk Steel Cut Oats (whole grain), Organic 25 lbs. 1 0 $18.35 $0.00

My sweet helper always wants to pose with the groceries.  She probably thinks all moms line up and take pictures of their groceries. And yes, she does like to wear multiple dresses in the same day.  Usually I encourage her to keep the same outfit on, today I let her live it up. Love that girl.

After I refilled my jars I had to figure what to do with all the extras.  I wrote the dates on the bags so I can get an idea for how long it takes me to go through them.  I will also clip the corners shut with clamps and put them in plastic totes for the time being.  I hope to get them into well sealed 5 gallon buckets when we get our hands on some more.  I love the Gamma Seal lids on the two that I have.  Who knew I would get excited about fancy bucket lids?

Here is a post I wrote about getting started with Azure Standard. You can also find some of my past shopping trips by searching “azure” in the search box.

I am looking out on at least 5 inches of fresh snow and praying everyone is safe driving today. After all the snow we have gotten this year I am starting to feel like I live in an area where snow is a common occurrence.  Shout out to my dad and hubby for picking me and my van up late last night after I was having trouble just making it out of the neighborhood I was in.

Happy Spring!

Cherry picking, washing, pitting, and freezing.

We have been having a blast picking this summer now that the the twins are 3 and a half.  This is the first Summer that we have been able to spend some time picking with the kids old enough to participate a little.

Here is what we have picked this year:

  • Organic Blueberries at Minto Island Growers $1.74 ish per lb.
  • Cherries with Salem Harvest-Free!
  • Cherries at our generous friends the Askeys-Free!
  • Broccoli with Salem Harvest-Free!

It was a little hard to decide what to do with all the cherries, but in the end I decided to just wash, pit, and freeze what we could not eat immediately.

 

Here are the steps I used to “put up” our cherries…

1) After I read about some different techniques to wash fruit I got excited about using vinegar and water.  I figured that instead of a making a spray I could probably make a soak for them.  I put 3 parts cold water to 1 part vinegar and let them soak for a few minutes and agitated with with my hand a bit.  Then I fished them out with a shallow ladle type tool with holes in it.

2) After the soak I rinsed them in cold water for a bit to get the vinegar off and get them a little cleaner.

3) Next, I dumped them into my salad spinner to let them drip dry a little more without getting the counter soaked.

4) Now it was time to pit!  Little Miss woke up from her nap and was so excited to help me.  It was our first summer harvest we have gotten to work on together and a great memory.  She was very helpful and so eager.  Her job was to pull the stems off and keep my hopper full in the cherry pitter.  She took pride in her work and said some of the funniest things.  “Oh look at this tiny sad one Mama! You think she will be okay (cherries are obviously girls)?”  She also told me, “I am a Mama” and made it clear that she was feeling so very grown up.

This was my first summer using the Norpro Deluxe Cherry Pitter.  I bought it from Azure Standard and I have no idea how I would have done this job without it.

4) I then bagged the pitted cherries flat in zipper bags.  I got as much of the air out as I could and then stacked a couple bags on a cookie sheet to freeze.  After they were frozen flat in bags I rearranged them in our freezer.

These will be great for smoothies, baking, mixing into ice cream, and cobblers!  What a blessing to fill our freezer with free fruit!

Getting started with Azure Standard…my new favorite food resource

I must tell you all about my new favorite thing. For more months than I would like to admit I have been modifying my “virtual cart” at Azure Standard.  Last week I was finally able to get my first order.  Azure Standard is a co-op of “quality bulk and natural foods”.  They can ship most things to your door, but the best way to order from them is by having your order sent to a “drop point.”

It is like grocery shopping from your couch…for good quality food…at great prices.  What’s not to like?

To get started you can call customer service and tell them your city and see if they deliver to your area, or check out their route information on their site.  Then, ask them for the phone numbers for some people who have “drop sites” in the area.  After calling around and settling on the coordinator that is most convenient for you ask when you need to submit your order by (or try to figure it out online), and when the order will come.

The items come by truck to your drop point and either the driver or coordinator will usually call you to tell approximately you when your things are coming/ have arrived.  Some sites work things a bit differently.  Some drops are in parking lots and some are on porches.

I found it a bit difficult to get started because of all the phone calls that I had to make.  With three small children it was really hard to call the 9 names they gave me to actually figure out which drops where near me.  I attempted a few times, but then got busy and a month or so would pass before I would get back around to it.

The other tricky thing is that most drop sites have to make a minimum order to get delivery.  The first drop I tried was going to be really close to my house, but we did not make the minimum order and I had to switch at the last minute to find a new one.  I ended up doing what I knew I should have done all along and went with a “tried and true” drop that a friend used that always meets their minimum (around$500).  Another thing to be aware of is that I believe most sites require that you meet a personal minimum order of $50 if you are having your items sent to a drop.

Be sure to check out their specials as well.  Their sales span over a two month period.

They carry SO many different types of things.  They carry tons of bulk foods, canned goods, produce, packaged natural/organic yummies, dairy, frozen goods, meats, herbs, health and beauty items, cleaning products, baby things, supplements, pet care items, and more all at great prices.

Here are some more shots of the goods…in case you are as curious as I am about what other people buy when they shop.

Here is what happens after you get all your pretty new glass jars out and start putting your bulk purchases away.  After months of dreaming of this moment…your toddler knocks the oatmeal over.  You bite you lip, try to show grace, and see how fast you can run the price per lb.

 

(In case y’all were wondering, I get nothing for this endorsement. I just am really enjoying my purchases.)

If you have any other questions for this newbie feel free to try me.

Do you order from Azure? What are your favs?