Picked a Peck of Peppers

Actually, we didn't pick them, and we had a whole bushel (4 pecks, I think). But it's a fun title. Despite all the hand labor, we're in good spirits at the NtJS house. This weekend we picked up a bushel of bell peppers from a local organic farmer.

So what is all the excitement about?

If you haven't noticed (and really, how could you miss it), bell peppers were a major victim of the grocery price hikes over the past year or so. Locally, they have been $3-4 per POUND. And that's not even for organic ones. a couple of years ago, I can recall buying them for closer to $1 per pound. We've been so put off by the price hikes, that we've been speaking with our wallet and not buying them. We stand by the decision, but oh how we've missed bell peppers!

Italian, Tex-Mex, and stir-fry - all staples at our house - have been bell pepper-less for far too long. We tried growing them in the garden, but several growers lost their crops this spring, and the ones that we did plant were eaten by deer while we were on vacation. Ug. There seemed to be no hope.

In a moment of weakness, the Mrs. picked up a bag of three bell peppers a couple of weeks ago, from the grocery store.
Later we looked at the sticker only to find that they were a product of Holland! The county!
We quickly used them before we had time to think about all the things they had to do to these things to get them to make the journey across the Atlantic and come out picture-perfect. Then, things started to turn around for us.

A friend was talking about buying organic tomatoes in bulk from an organic farmer that frequents the weekly farmer's market. Would she do the same for bell peppers? It took some time to get an answer - what with having to have enough to sell otherwise. But eventually, she came back with an affirmative answer and a price per bushel. $23 - same as what she sells them to restaurants, maybe a bit less than that even. With 35 peppers in a bushel, these big beautiful organic peppers come out to 65 cents each - some of which may have weighed a pound each. Best of all, they traveled 20 miles to get to our table (or freezer), not 2000.

Now, with about an hour or so of hand labor and some time with the Food Saver, we have plenty to ensure our meals will not be pepper-less for quite some time, and we didn't have to give in to those terrible grocery store prices. We also ended up with some very nice compost fuel!

It was a big win for us, but maybe we like bell peppers more than you. Another great deal, simply because we ASKED!


Stephanie said...

What a great deal! My bell peppers did not produce anything, but I have hot peppers coming out of my ears!

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