When I think of shopping in bulk, I immediately think of stocking up on large quantities of goods at COSTCO. In fact, shopping for bulk foods is almost the exact opposite. It allows you to measure your own quantity of goods … perhaps even purchase less than the pre-packaged versions of the same food.
Mostly, I cruise right past this aisle on my way to find the products with which I am familiar. Or at least those with compelling logos and brightly colored packaging that catches my eye and captures my attention.
But, since I’m trying to minimize waste–both in terms of the packaging that my food brings home with it, and the excess measures of ingredients that are left over after making a recipe, I thought I’d spend some time here, learning what bulk shopping is all about. But, as you know, I had a small window of opportunity to actually make this shopping *experience* happen yesterday. So, I have to admit … it is still a bit of a mystery to me.
What I did find though was fascinating … in addition to the typical dry goods–oats, popcorn, nuts, and so forth, there are dried fruits, candies, and even pre-combined granola mix. There are healthy snacks for my kids’ lunches, and there’s even a whole baking section which allows you to purchase only the necessary measure of expensive cooking spices instead of trading your platinum wedding ring for a jar of vanilla beans in the pre-packaged aisle. And, at the end of the aisle, there were large containers of pure maple syrup, and orange blossom honey, in addition to cooking oils, and treasures I don’t even know how to describe.
I felt like I was in a rich market full of tasty treats and golden opportunities … take as little or as much as you want. I won’t tell you how many pounds of dark-chocolate covered almonds found their way home with me. But I will tell you that shopping in bulk requires a bit more forethought than I could muster yesterday. You need to know what you’re looking for … and how much of it you need. Otherwise, you could spend hours browsing the containers of food and filling up bags of “stuff” that will get lost in your cupboards at home without its fancy packaging to jump off the shelves and catch your eye. But it is a worthy investment of time.
Just don’t go when you have a sick husband at home, two tired children, and a cat in the car that needs to get to the vet.