In the last couple of weeks I have gone to the Amish produce auction three times. The most recent time Nitai came along and purchased produce that was used for the 24 hour kirtan we just had in New Vrindaban. He snapped a pic on his cell phone camera:

amish auction

Amish prefer to not have their pictures taken so I won’t put names on the faces.

A lot of Amish have been driven from their traditional areas because of urban pressures on land values. Farming is a low profit margin venture and as they expand by their children choosing to retain their values, they can’t afford to buy prime agricultural land so a lot of them have been moving into Southeastern Ohio.

Amish used to be mostly self sufficient with a few dairy cows for necessary cash but that model isn’t working anymore as dairy has gotten too competitive and traditional cropping systems don’t translate as well into hill country.

To make a living a lot of them have turned to truck farming — growing produce.  As they are limited in distance they can haul with horses, and the cheap land is far from cities, they started a produce auction to market their fruits and veggies.

It is called the Captina Produce Auction and you can click the link to get info on it and a history of prices.

In Old New Vrindaban one of my services was to go to auctions and buy stuff for the community at a fraction of new prices.  I like auctions — the thrill of the hunt, the joy of winning, all that is part of it.

My main reason to go was to buy gourds for Vidya but the few hard shell gourds that sold there have been too high priced and not numerous. I did manage to buy hundreds of ornamental gourds.

We bought a bunch of them at the Ohio Gourd Show already dried. She dyes them and mixes in a few of them with regular hardshell mini gourds in swags she makes and sells a lot of. They are thin shelled so don’t work for much else. We bought all the lady had who was selling them and got a discounted price of ten cents per.

Ornamental gourds sell 2 for a $1 at Jebbias, the local dedicated produce market, and can be found for 3 or 4 for a $1 at flea and farmers markets. I went around the community after buying a bunch and sold them for 10 for a $1 to devotees. Not that a dollar sale is a money making venture door to door but it was just fun to do it.

I sold a bunch to the temple for 15 for a dollar and they were used to decorate at the Vaisnavi Retreat. I even offered to buy their’s back when they were finished because I mainly want them for drying anyway.

I bought one lot of 200 bigger winged ones at 7 cents a piece and 700 regulars at 3 cents a piece so I was able to cover my out of pocket by reselling. For the gas and time  we have hundreds to dry over winter, which will then be worth ten cents a piece to Vidya. This will be a better return on investment than if I had invested in the stock market. :-)

I also bought some mini pumpkins for the temple, the small  pie kind you can decorate with and then eat later, for 15 cents per, compared to $1-1.50 in the local market.

Butternut squash was going between 7 to 20 cents per. I  checked at the local mass supermarket and they sell there for $1.50 to 2.00.  I didn’t need any because we grew our own and the temple didn’t need any because Tapahpunjah grew a bunch for them.

I did buy two quarts of strawberries at $4.00 per and they are only $2.99 at Krogers but they actually taste like strawberries and not the cardboard that comes out of the irrigated and chemically grown California valleys.