Feeding the Family: Buying in Bulk (or…The Promised Post About My Oats)

 Thanks for being so patient with me.  I know all of you have been dying to look at my bag of oats for the past several weeks and have probably lost sleep over wondering when I would finally get to it. 

And now, without further ado (wow, I had no idea how to spell ado…adu?..adoooo?…adew?)  Anyway, without further ado…my bag of oats:

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I think in this post I called it a 50 pound bag of oats.  It is in fact, only a 25 pound bag of oats.  (Hopefully, the bag wasn’t offended when I overshot her weight.)  Twenty five pounds of oats is quite large enough for me to handle at once.  And…it lasts us well over half the year.

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Last week, in my Azure Standard order, I got a 25 pound bag of oats…a 50 pound bag of Sucanat…and a 50 pound bag of wheat.  Malachi played “king of the bulk purchases pile” until Matt was home and could move them for me.

I LOVE buying in bulk.  It makes me feel all “Ma Ingalls-ish”.  The only difference is that my bags are made of thick paper instead of cloth…so I can’t use them to make my new bloomers.  Yep, that’s the only difference. 

Buying in bulk does save money.  But actually, that’s not my favorite part of buying big bags of food.  My really favorite part about buying bulk bags is that it just makes life simpler for me.  I don’t have to buy a little bag of rice or oats or pasta or whatever every month.  I have lots of big bags of everything I need, giving me oh so many cooking options.

Yes, big bags of bulk are my friends. 

I’m thankful to have the storage space to make buying in bulk feasible.  It saves me money, time, energy and brain power.

More about how I store my bulk purchases here and here.

Do you buy in bulk?  How do you store your bulk food purchases?
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This post is linked to Frugal Fridays at Life as Mom.

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Comments

  1. says

    I wish I could buy in bulk! Our house is pretty small, so I can only fit into my kitchen (and tiny pantry) what we can eat in a month. I’m very impressed by your cool pantry. Where do you get your oils from?

    You should be tickled to know that I’m making your whole wheat waffles + yummy blueberry sauce for breakfast tomorrow morning…can’t wait! :)

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  2. Jen says

    I buy local organic whole white wheat flour in 25 lb bags, then freeze it in gallon ziplocs (5 lbs each). I buy lots of other grains and beans and things from grocery store bulk bins, but I hadn’t really thought about buying them from another source in 25 lb bags. It would really make sense for me to do that with a lot of things.

    On the other hand, I’ve had issues with grain moths in the past, so I freeze our bulk (bin) purchases and/or keep them in glass or plastic jars. Do you store things in the heavy paper bags or move it all into other containers? Do oats keep well without freezing long term?

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  3. says

    I so wish that Azure standard had a drop point near me. We would buy in bulk more if that were the case. However, some friends and I are splitting a 1/2 of a cow order… should be coming soon!

    And where do you buy 5lb. ziploc bags?????

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    Sadie Reply:

    Hi. I’m not sure what part of the country you are in, but Azure Standard is expanding the truck routes to deliver in parts of Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Kansas. We are hoping these routes will be available this fall.
    Please feel free to send inquiries to:
    customerservice@azurestandard.com

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  4. Julie in Australia says

    I only buy in bulk what I can keep in my house. Mainly rice and cereal.

    I love your reference to the bloomers that Caroline would have made for the girls. My daughter is enjoying the DVDS of LHOP and we enjoy the lessons that it teaches her (especially with regards to playing at school).

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  5. says

    Love buying in bulk, just wish it could be Azure standard too, we have no drop points near us. I laughed at the picture of your storage jar, ours is exactly alike! Bloomers from those bags wouldn’t be very comfortable, but more so than making them from the box our bulk oatmeal comes in. Paper bloomers, funny.

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  6. soonermomof7 says

    I am a big fan of buying in bulk! I buy in bulk for grains, beans, rice, honey, coconut oil, Sucanat, etc. I store in white, plastic buckets with gamma seal lids (they screw on…nice!). Never had a problem with critters…ever. I love the convenience of having on hand the basic ingredients for several months of cooking. Coop – even if it’s just a couple of friends buying a large bag or case of something and splitting it. Often you can get free or reduced shipping if you buy large quantities. The paper from those bulk bags makes great fire starter material!

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  7. Amber says

    I purchase various wheats, rice, oats, etc. from a local mennonite store. I love bulk buying for all the same reasons. we have seven children and need everything in bulk. We buy all our spices, baking powders, powdered sugars, etc. through this amazing little bitty family store. We do have three girls, and I do make them bloomers, but I have not tried paper bag bloomers. People already think we’re crazy. I’m sure if my 8 year old daughter showed up in paper bag underclothes they call the authorities for sure!!!!!!

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  8. says

    Buying in bulk is a necessity when feeding a family of 8 whole foods.:-) I buy all of my wheat, rice, rapadura, oils, honey, agave, Baked chips, chocolate chips, etc. in bulk. I soooo miss Azure, they rock when it comes to bulk!! We lived in Oregon for 6 years and ordered from them often. Their raw cheese is awesome!! I keep hoping they will deliver here on the east coast. I store most of my bulk in plastic buckets, 1/2 gallon jars and small buckets left from my bulk oil that I get from Wilderness Family Naturals. Buying in bulk is sooooo much fun, I love all those big bags and buckets.:-)

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  9. says

    That’s a great idea. I didn’t know you could do that! (I’m still a little new to this stuff.) I’m wondering, though, do you have problems with pests? I thought grains attracted pests.

    I love containers too! I don’t have a lot of jars, but they are definitely prettier than the plastic containers I have…

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  10. Elisa says

    Hi Laura- I just starting ordering from Azure and I love it! It makes me feel good to unload the boxes and see all of that good stuff together. I love buying in bulk. I purchase many of the same things that you do- I should just get your list and order whatever is on it- lol. It would make it so much easier when ordering time comes around!:)Thank you so much for all of your posts and great recipes- I have tried a few and love them!

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  11. says

    I buy some things in bulk. ( I have a huge bag of pinto beans (we like bean burritos around here).

    I am still contemplating getting a wheat grinder…so…

    Hey, what costume is Malachi wearing? Because my boys just got interested in transformers and that looks pretty transformerish.

    They are always pretending to change into a car from a robot. They really don’t know much about transformers ( i have had to look for books about them).

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  12. says

    I love bulk items! I have yet to buy my first 25lb bag of anything. I have been getting my oats for free or close to it with coupons so for now that is how it is going down. However, we just purchased a 1/2 of a cow and 1/2 of a pig…that’s buying in bulk, right? lol

    Oh, I have seen it spelled “ado” and “adieu”….don’t really know which is correct. I love that word though!

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  13. Danielle says

    Julie adieu means farewell.. so if it is being used like the above it’s wrong.

    Ado is the correct spelling.

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  14. Sarah says

    I get my wheat berries and rice in 50 lb bags,then store them either in plastic buckets with snap on lids or the tin specialty popcorn containers and so far I haven’t had a problem with them. For my smaller quantity bulk items I have rubbermaid containers or 1/2 gallon glass jars in my cabinet upstairs and the surplus goes in a tote in the basement. What I’m running out of storage space wise is refrigerator space. Some things like whey and walnuts, sprouted grains and syrup (if you dont’ recan it) need to be refrigerated, but that takes up so much space. Any ideas?

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  15. Melissa says

    Ok…..where on earth do you find buckets big enough to store 50 lbs of wheat or oats? Can you use the plalstic paint buckets fro walmart?

    melissa

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  16. says

    Melissa, you can get plastic buckets from delis(like the wal mart deli or bakery), online (like emergeny essentials)- BUT make sure they are food grade- I wouldn’t use them if they had paint in them:)

    I use 1/2 gallon Masons and food grade buckets- although I line the buckets with the enormous paper sack that the grains and things come in- I really don’t want my food right next to the plastic- You can also get these nice 3 gallon tupperware containers from Sam’s club- Super Cheap!! I keep many things indoors but I also have a nice shelf in the shed.

    Love buying in bulk- if you live on the east coast look at Dutch Valley’s website and see if they have a seller near you- usually it it a mennonite store- you can then order any of their bulk goods thru your local store- things like wheat montana, sucanat, 1/2 gallon masons, organic beans and raisins.. Eden Organics also sells bulk organic beans and things.

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  17. says

    I get free white buckets from grocery stores- I go to the bakery dept. and ask for their frosting buckets. Sometimes they have them, sometimes not. We’ve accumulated so many over the years that I also use them for plants on my balcony.

    I buy oats, wheat berries, rice, beans, honey, spices, and (on rare occasions) molasses in bulk containers.

    There are 9 of us, plus regular houseguests (last year we had over 100 overnight guests, some of them repeat guests). We go through around 50 pounds of oats in about two months. I also have a killer stovetop granola recipe that makes it quick and easy.=)

    When we lived in a smaller house I kept the buckets out in the summer kitchen (others might use a garage, a summer kitchen is a midwestern concrete block storage room with no heat or air conditioning). I kept large jars of the bulk goods inside the kitchen, and refilled them from the buckets as needed. here’s a picture of what my inside kitchen storage looked like back then).

    Melissa, paint buckets are not food grade- I don’t know if that matters or not. but the buckets you get at the deli are. It usually takes two or three of those buckets to hold fifty pounds of grains.

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  18. April says

    I started buying in bulk not quite a year ago when I got into organic and whole foods. I am loving every minute of it! I have an extra upright frig/freezer in my basement and I store as much as possible in that. I also have one of those metal shelves beside it that I put extra oils, pasta, jars, or anything that does not need to be in the frig. I have 4 boys and they are only getting bigger bellies!

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  19. michelle from wa says

    Hi there,
    Thank you for sharing your mother’s heart with all of us mamas! I have been wondering about wheat berries. Do you just grind up what you need and then it becomes the flour? Perhaps it is a crazy question, and secondly, what is the best kind of wheat, red, white, etc.?
    Blessings to you!

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  20. Sarah says

    When I need flour I just take an approximate amount of wheat berries that will convert to the amount of flour I need (sometimes I’m over, sometimes I’m under) and grind it in my nutrimill. That way it’s fresh and doesn’t have a chance to go rancid before I use it. Flour goes rancid really fast! The type of wheat you use is really up to you. Soft is recommended for sprouting, generally, though I have used hard wheat for most of mine and it works just fine. Red wheat will produce a little bit darker loaf and white will produce a lighter loaf when you’re making bread. Other than that, I don’t know of any real differences.

    Anyone else know?

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  21. says

    This post made me smile. We buy old fashioned oats and whole wheat flour in 50 lb. bags. Looks like a feed sack and makes me laugh. :) I am always so happy for how much money we save buying that way! (I divide up the flour and put it in the freezer, so it doesn’t get rancid.)

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  22. says

    We buy in huge bulk with friends and neighbors and enjoy prices far under retail. Works great if you know how. There are no storage problems and we all benefit from very nice discounts. We also split the cost of many durable items and share them through a kind of checkout system. Lower costs, less clutter and waste… You don’t even need an existing group of friends or neighbors! I just started a blog about it, and I’m feeling a bit like an evangelist. :-)

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  23. darialauren says

    what do you do with all those oats? i love oatmeal but would love some other recipe ideas :)

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    Laura Reply:

    Well, that big of a bag does last us a long time!! We eat oatmeal each Sunday morning for breakfast, I use them to make Chewy Granola Bars: http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/homemade-chewy-granola-bars-without-corn-syrup and Breakfast Cookies: http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/giant-breakfast-cookies and several other recipes…but those are the main ones!

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    darialauren Reply:

    thanks! and by the way happy birthday Elias!

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