You wanna know why skinny and rich go hand in hand? ‘Cause the rich can afford to eat foods that don’t make them fat.
There’s a reason poor people eat crap and are overweight. Have you ever tried to buy a red pepper in the middle of winter? It’s expensive.
The experience goes something like this:
1. Enter grocery store.
2. Have cashier ring up red pepper and ask for total.
3. Open your purse, remove knife and then plunge it in between your collarbones and rip it down to your nether regions. Split yourself open and offer up your lesser used organs to the highest bidder.
Barring that, I’m sure you could work out some sort of layaway plan.
So when I discovered the wonderful world of wholesale produce last year I wept. With joy of course. I’m prone to melodrama.
Many cities have them. They are true, blue wholesalers (as opposed to Costco or Sam’s Club) where you can buy fruits and vegetables.
The produce wholesaler in my area happens to sell both fruit and vegetables, local and imported, spring, summer, fall and winter. They make most of their money from supplying local restaurants, but they allow the public to shop there as well. It’s kind of a secret. There’s only ever one or two other people in the place when I go.
It’s completely charming. Just exactly like walking into a Whole Foods.
Notice the loft-style, stained cement floors and the waxy cardboard boxes set amongst quaint, teetering metal shelving. That’s down home goodness, right there.
O.K. it’s not what you’d call charming. It’s what you’d call a bit of a mess. It’s not dirty or anything, it just ain’t Whole Foods with their pretty wood floors and quaint wicker baskets. Nope. But sometimes if the fruit is about to go bad they give it to you for free! It’s one of my favourite places ever.
So today in honour of everyone who has ever gasped at the price of a papaya, peach or potato, I conducted an experiment. I bought all of this at the wholesalers:
6 Baking Potatoes, 1 head Iceberg Lettuce, 2 handfuls of Green Beans, 1 bunch Green Onions, 3 Red Peppers, 1 bunch Leeks, 1 tomato, 1 head broccoli, 3 lemons, 2 limes, 3 bananas, 2 cobs of corn.
It cost me a total of $9.
After I paid I went straight to my regular grocery store and priced the exact same items.
To calculate the costs, I wrote down the prices per pound and then weighed all my items once I got home.
The grocery store total came to $20.56.
More than twice as much as at the wholesaler for those of you who aren’t as proficient at math as I am.
Of course this is summer in North America so vegetable prices aren’t too bad, but in winter dollars that would convert to about 1 kidney and half a spleen.
To look for a similar spot in your area, just ask around. I find Italians, Greeks or people from Eastern European descent usually have a higher regard for vegetables AND saving money than North Americans do so try asking them first. And don’t ask anyone who is wearing high heels. People who wear high heels, as a general rule, do not look for bargains. I can’t explain how this is true … it just is … it’s scientific.
Or Google “Wholesale Produce (insert your city here)”
Ontarians may benefit from this website:
Americans can try this one:
Good luck. And happy vegetabling.