Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Chesterhill Produce Auction Opening Day Thursday May 14th

Join us on Thursday May 14th for the opening day festivities of the Chesterhill Produce Auction. An open house with refreshments will begin at 3:00pm, and the inaugural 2009 auction will start at 4:00pm. 2009 marks the fifth anniversary of this culturally unique aspect of our local food system. The growers, volunteers, community leaders, and owners Jean and Marvin Konkle, who have all worked together to make this growing local food business look forward to welcoming everyone!.

New for 2009 we will have an in house retail store. Sarah Tucker of Sarah’s Treats, promises to have this new shopping opportunity stocked with her delicious home made candies and peanut brittle. Local honey and maple syrup will also be available, with more good things to come as the year progresses.

If your looking for tomato stakes for those prized tomatoes you’ve just planted, the auction is the place for you. The opening auction promises to feature long lasting stakes produced locally from oak and other hardwoods. Local crafts including the famous Chesterhill rag rugs, should also be available. We like to stock up on these for that perfect spur of the moment gift option, always a great addition to any kitchen.

We’re also looking forward to supplies of vegetable starts, flowers, and of course fresh local food! Asparagus, that favorite spring time delicacy will be available, but it always goes fast, so be the bidder! Large brown eggs (kept ice cold from farm to auction) will be in good supply so this could be a great chance to stock up for your Memorial Day baking needs. Look for other spring vegetables including green onions, radishes and spinach.

If this is your first visit to a produce auction follow these simple steps: 1) Go to the office (on the north side of the building, through the new retail store), and request a buyers number. This is a permanent number and you will be able to use it every time you go to the Auction. Remember to bring your photo ID if you wish to pay by check.

2) When the auction starts pay attention and speak up when you wish to make a bid. Remember, this is a wholesale auction and often the price your bidding is multiplied by the number of items, for example eggs are bid at a one dozen price, and then multiplied by the number of dozen eggs you are buying. If you aren’t clear speak up or ask your neighbor.

3) The one person to avoid asking questions of is the “auction clerk,” this is the man or woman who sits in a chair near the auctioneer, and records all transactions. This is a job that requires concentration, so let them focus on writing down the sales! Please feel free to ask anyone else however, we want to make this a fun experience.

4) At the end of the auction go to the office (where you got your number) and pay for your tickets, which will represent each successful bid you made. These will be added up and that will be your bill. Keep your tickets as they will serve as your receipt. Please remember non food items require sales tax, and all sales are final. Please let us know if you see a mistake. Our sales clerks are often community volunteers trying to build a local food system, and are also human, hence prone to making a mistake. Let us know we’ll work it out! We promise!

See you on Thursday!

Tom Redfern

Sustainable Agriculture Coordinator

Rural Action (and sometime struggling sales clerk)

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