Coffee heat rising


So the dogs are walking the human this morning when we come upon the gay guys who live up the street. They’re dragging a garden cart behind them, filled with full recyclable shopping bags.

I say, “Did they make you walk home from the airport with your baggage?”

They laugh and say they just came from one of those migrating food sales — the sellers are camped out in the church parking lot at the corner of Feeder Street East-West and Conduit of Blight Boulevard.

Hot diggety!

What happens is that grocery stores will take produce that’s reached the end of its (brief!) shelf life and, instead of throwing it away, donate it to organizations who distribute it to neighborhoods at an outrageous discount. They dispatch a semi truck filled with produce to a distribution center — usually a church or nonprofit — and set up shop for all comers.

The men got 60 pounds of produce for $10. Apiece.

The moveable feast was to be there from 7 to 9 a.m., said they.

As soon as the dogs had perambulated their daily mile, I flang them in the house, jumped in the car, and shot out the door.

WHAT a mountain of food I came back with! Videlicet:

8 yellow squash
8 zucchini squash
4 eggplants
16 (!!) big, ripe beefsteak tomatoes
8 beautiful little orange acorn squash
2 honeydew melon
2 mini watermelons

And it’s gorgeous produce. Can you believe this?


The bag of lemons and the artichoke came from the Sprouts, where I went to pick up some onions and things so as to process this bounty. But the rest of it: hand0uts.

A gigantic pan of eggplant lasagne awaits in the fridge: my son is coming over this evening to help eat some of this stuff.

Made a marinara sauce for the lasagne with some of the giant tomatoes and some of the frozen hamburger found at the bottom of the recently shoveled-out freezer. That’s going to be very nice.

Also cooked one of the little acorn squash and stuffed it with some of the hamburg: breakfast. I’m thinking the rest of them (eight of the things!) can be fixed the same way and then packed in baggies and frozen. The summer squash and the beautiful eggplants can be made into a mountain of ratatouille. The rest of the tomatoes: soup! Hey: gazpacho!

Between this bounty and the several bags of meat I found hidden in the freezer, I shouldn’t have to go to the grocery store for a month! Except to buy some salad greens.

What serendipity! Couldn’t have come at a better time, eh?


7 thoughts on “Food FRENZY!”

  1. You totally lucked out! I’m envious. And it sounds like you’re much more of a cook than I am. I’d cook more if I had more counter space and a bigger fridge. *sigh* One of these days…

  2. MAN…..all that for $10….and it looks to be in pretty good shape. This should REALLY improve your “bottom line”…..

    • And how! After my son left last night, I portioned out the remaining eggplant lasagne “hot dish” and put ELEVEN portions in the freezer! That plus the 40-some single meal-sized portions of meat I unearthed from the freezer (not counting the bag of shrimp and the bag of scallops) should keep me in food for almost two months.

      And that’s without the mountain of flavorless grocery-store tomatoes and the mountain of summer squash and the two little watermelons, all remaining to be processed. Today I’ll have to spend several hours turning the tomatoes and squash into soups and ratatouille.

      LOL! The tomatoes are like all grocery-store tomatoes: very pretty and absolutely devoid of flavor. It’s like eating cardboard, except cardboard would probably taste like something. However, I have a couple packages of Pomi tomatoes, which I can add to a soup and which, with plenty of onion, should flavor the mix.

      I wonder if flavorless tomatoes are also devoid of nutrition?

      • Hmmmm…..Maybe if you let the tomatoes have some sun they’ll….”flavor-up”. We do that here and it seems to improve them some what. Can’t wait till our tomatoes come in . I grew 24 plants from seed….like saved the seeds on a napkin from an “heirloom tomato” last year that DW paid “entirely too much money for”….Then put the napkin with the seeds in a zip lock bag and put it in the freezer….then in February thawed the seeds and started them indoors….then planted them outdoors in May. A bit late BUT our weather here was just insane. They seem to be doing well….as a matter of fact ….they are a deep green and looking great. By August….we should be up to our elbows in tomatoes. BUT pretty cool that you managed to benefit from the store’s kindness. I would think you’re “set” till September!!!

      • If you put a tomato in the sun here at this time of year, you’d have roast tomato in about 45 minutes!

        Tomato season in the low desert happens in the fall and then again in the spring. By November it’s too cold for tomatoes, and by the end of May (mid-May this year!) it’s way too hot.

        The soil here is not very good for tomatoes — it’s clayey and salty — so requires a lot of physical effort in cultivation and a enough cost in soil amendment that raising tomatoes isn’t very cost-effective. Better to just buy Compari tomatoes at the Costco, the Whole Foods, or AJs and call it a day.

        Next time, if they hand me a flat of cardboard tomatoes, I’ll take them over to the nearest homeless shelter or soup kitchen and donate them. The other veggies are fine, but the tomatoes are a cruel joke.

  3. Wow! Those vegetables that the store was getting rid of look better than what the stores here try to sell for full price. I could use something like that to help the ol’ bottom line.

    • Google a search term like “produce on wheels,” “food rescue,” and the like. Or just ask around — ask at the local church. This has become pretty popular — I understand a lot of areas have organizations that are doing something like it. I know there’s a generic term for this, but offhand don’t recall what it is. There may be one or more where you are.

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