BEHIND-THE-SCENES: PRODUCE AUCTIONS

It's official: going to the produce auctions is the best part of working at Branstool Orchards. Thursday I tagged along with Marshall and took my handy-dandy camera to get a few shots of him doin' his thang. But at the end of the trip I was busting at the seams with a blog post. So here is your sneak peak into a morning at the Mt. Hope Auction.

Marshall and I got an early start and rolled out of the orchard shortly after 8 a.m. The sale starts at 10 a.m., and it takes about an hour and 10 minutes to get there in the big box truck. After a quick coffee stop, we pulled in about 9:30 a.m. 

First order of business was to unload our apples and skids (or catch up with other auction-goers if you're Marshall):

After the truck was empty and ready to be filled, we parked it against the loading docks and headed to check in. Once registered, we had to tag the produce we brought:

It was then time to survey the produce and figure out what would be good to bid on and bring into the market:

It's at this point that Marshall dropped the bomb on me - he wasn't going to be the only one bidding. Uhhh.. what? Me? Make purchasing decisions? HA! I just came to take pictures and weigh in on what would look good in the market. Apparently Marshall had other ideas. (They apparently have two different auctioneers working at two different areas - information I think I would have liked to have had before agreeing to go!) I was immediately nervous. What if I paid too much for something?! (I did.) What if I forgot to bid on something?! (I did.) What if I got flustered and bid (and won!) something I wasn't supposed to?! (I did.) But even with all those mistakes, I still have my job.

Bidding started a little before 10 a.m., but I was in my spot and ready to go. I was blown away with how quickly the selling moved along.  I knew auctioneers called out quickly, but I didn't realize it was that fast. Whoa. It took a couple of rounds for me to keep up with the price changes and the dialogue. But I think I finally got a grip and was able to make some good purchasing decisions. 

Marshall and I kept in touch throughout the auction, making sure we didn't buy duplicates (we did) and just refreshing each other on what all we wanted to get. And of course, I wanted to get a few quick pictures of Marshall bidding:

The bidding finally wrapped up around noon, and it was time to check out and load up the truck:

After we loaded everything onto the truck, we double checked our receipt to make sure we had everything (and notice to total price, haha!), and then we were ready to head home:

We pulled back into our market around 1:30 and it was time to unload, figure prices, and get the produce out for sale. With such a full truck, it took four of us a good two hours to get everything ready for the weekend:

It was a long day, but well worth it. My main take-aways from my first (and hopefully not last!) trip to the produce auctions:

  1. It's not as easy as it looks. Keeping up with the experienced buyers requires extreme concentration and is very intimidating.
  2. People mean business. I don't know how many times I got knocked out of the way if I was up front and not bidding. Crazy!
  3. Marshall loves chocolate-vanilla twist soft serve ice cream. No. Really. He had two of them. Before 11:30 a.m.

I hope you come check out all the beautiful veggies we stocked up on for the weekend - we're very proud of what we have to offer!