Where to find deals on buying bruised veggies or fruit for canning?

Photo by PoPville flickr user Clif Burns

“Dear PoPville,

I would like to do some canning this weekend and am wondering if readers have any advice for me on which farms might offer deals on veggies and fruit? In the past, I’ve been able to buy a flat of peaches or a box of tomatoes that are slightly bruised/overripe/etc for much much cheaper than at the farmers market, but my go to source moved away. Any suggestions?”

23 Comment

  • dont have any specific leads… but it might not be a bad idea to go to a market (like eastern) and simply talk to the farmers out there
    if none of them are willing to work with you you can show up late (i di this often as l live just a few blocks from eastern mkt) right before everyone is closing up shop and they offer any perishable goods for pennies on the dollar
    that may not work if you are always looking for specific items but you can deff catch a deal that way

    • +1 on Eastern Market, if you show up around 4:30 on Sunday, the produce goes to a dollar a bag and a dollar a pound, and if you wait til right up around 5pm the dregs are free.

      • I go to Eastern Market nearly every week in the summer for exactly this purpose.

      • One of my first weekends in DC, ten years ago, I went to Eastern Market late on a Sunday and came home with pounds of free peaches. But it seems like the vendors have stopped doing that. I’ve been living one block from Eastern Market for five years now, and have never gotten free or discounted produce again. I guess it’s because there are so many markets now; they always have another opportunity to sell it.

  • I don’t think it’s Farmer’s Market quality, but Bestworld in Mt. Pleasant has a shopping cart next to the produce with overripe/bruised fruits and veggies at reduced prices.

  • A vendor at the Takoma Park Farmers Market sells discounted produce for ugly fruit! The one that sets up across the street from Pizza Movers

  • U St farmers market regularly has deals on ‘seconds’

  • Magruders in Chevy Chase DC

  • There is a latin market in Union Market area, no not the new fancy one, but down the street from there. we buy all our produce there and it is substantially cheaper than the store and astronomically cheaper than a farmers market. Their stuff is legit too.

  • the vendor that’s closest to Columbia at the Adams Morgan framers market often has bruised veggies and produce, separated out.

  • There’s urban farming taking place in DC! Check with the folks at Three Part Harmony Farm about deals and/or volunteering and picking some tomatoes yourself: http://ThreePartHarmonyFarm.org

  • In farm speak, they would be called seconds. Most any of the farms will sell you boxes of seconds, but it doesn’t seem to make sense that they would take up the space in their truck to bring them to the market if they don’t already know that someone will be buying. If a specific vendor doesn’t have them at the stall, you might be able to talk them into bringing you a box the next time they are at the market. Alternately, I know that I have gotten boxes of seconds from going directly to Butler’s orchard and Lewis Orchard. I am sure that there are other places that have them too. You should just call ahead if you are making a day trip into the country out of it.

  • I work for 3 Springs Fruit Farm at the Columbia Heights market on Saturday. “Seconds” (bruised fruit/veg) are usually available for $.99/lb and you can sort through what’s there day of or order ahead. It’s easy to get peaches, apples and tomatoes, but not sure about other fruits you might be looking for. If you’re interested I can put you in touch or you can swing by and ask!

  • Not exactly what the OP asked for, but someone in PoPville mentioned Hungry Harvest a few weeks ago. Looks like a pretty cool mission. http://www.hungryharvest.net/

  • My Depression-era Grandma with 8 kids in the Bronx used to take the street car to the end of the line to produce warehouses and bring home crates of battered fruit – on the street car! The kids had to meet her with a wagon to haul it home, then they ate bruised peaches until they got sick.

  • Garner’s Produce at the U Street Farmers Market on Saturdays has boxes of tomato seconds — 25 pound box for $15.00 — I ordered one last Saturday for this weekend

  • http://www.orchardcountryproduce.com/

    We get our CSA from them at one of the many farmer’s markets they are at in the Metro area and frequently go online to order extras for canning, which they bring for pick-up, no extra charge.

  • I have some friends who often to to a produce auction not too far away – you’ll have to do some googling to figure out where, sorry!

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