2019 ApplePalooza: 1720 pounds of apples, 43 cartons to share, and 60-some of your closest friends: a do-it-yourself buying club. Here’s how Sarah Oien Page did it. I have found great joy in connecting my community to the goods produced by small local farmers. There is no better way to welcome Fall to Minnesota than to load up on Honey Crisp apples! This delicious sweet and juice hybrid was developed right here at the University of Minnesota.
2019 ApplePalooza was the second annual apple haul from Inspired Acres, a small family-owned orchard about an hour southwest of the Twin Cities. This year, we had 1720 pounds of apples delivered to Bloomington MN!
The orchard offered customers two options. Order FIRSTS apples, which are the first round picks that are grocery store quality or SECONDS apples, which are apples that don’t make the first cut due to minor blemishes but are still delicious for eating or baking. Both types were offered at an amazing discounted price due the quantity our group bought.
Inspired Acres set up a simple order page for customers to log on, choose their desired options and quantity, and pay via credit card. We had over 60 local folks submit orders. The average order size was 20 pounds and some families ordered more than 100lb for themselves!
Arriving in 40-pound boxes, the apples were packed in containing with 10-pound and 20-pound bags, so I rounded up a couple of friends to spend an hour or so helping me sort and weigh the apples so they would be all set for pick up.
Our pick up location was a nice large property housing the local chapter pf Izaak Walton League, a nonprofit national conservation organization. They are happy to host community events that serve their mission.
Customers picked up their apples in a set two-hour time, and everyone was thrilled to have these delicious organically grown local apples bagged and delivered – practically to their doorstep!
Most of us suburban folk have very busy lives and not a lot of free time to spend sourcing better foods, especially driving to various locations to acquire them. By setting up a local buying group in our community, I have learned that many people want to source their foods locally, yet don’t have the resources to do so in a convenient matter; especially one that makes it easy enough to be part of their regular grocery routine.
Our group has been around for over a year now, and we have successfully sourced grass-fed beef, free-range eggs, Thanksgiving turkeys, free-range chickens, and apples! The connections I have made with people in our community and local farmers have been truly wonderful!
(Photos: copyright by and used with permission from Sarah Oien Page)