30 Bananas a Day!

Sooo something I learned the other day which was very interesting is that most of our food passes through what's called a "food terminal". Basically it's just one big place where MOST local/imported fruit and veg comes through. A place where buyers and sellers get together to haggle over prices and get the produce moving to grocery stores, restaurants, markets,etc. It never occurred to me that such a place would exist but this makes perfect sense right?

So the one near me is the largest one in Canada and 3rd largest in North America. All you need is a membership which is like $155 every 2 years or something and business license which I already have.

Has anyone gone directly to one of these places? I'm going to look into it more when I find some time but I'm just not sure if it'll actually be a huge discount and worth the hassle vs. just buying bulk from some of the stores I buy from to be honest. I imagine you need to buy a lot of volume to actually start hitting the larger discounts. By volume I mean like dozens of cases not a few for the week obviously. Maybe this might work for a group of buyers though. The whole thing intrigues me.

Check it out here: 

http://www.blogto.com/eat_drink/2007/10/inside_the_ontario_food_ter...

and here:

http://www.indannyskitchen.com/2011/07/ontario-food-terminal-suppor...

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I have heard about them. John Kohler has done a few fantastic videos on wholesale buying.

Awesome thanks man :D

Ok. 

We've been shopping there for a little over half a year. We caught the end farmer's market season, and I personally haven't been there. My mom did buy half bushels of tomatoes/peaches etc. We can get better tomatoes from a nearby farm though. 

Regarding the warehouses - it's been my responsibility to shop for the family there for the past couple months. It's much more convenient for us as we do 811 100%, and all run, therefore go through ALOT of food :) Certainly much less time consuming and SO much logistically easier.

Regarding prices - it can vary. If something is soft/ripe, they can just as well sell it to you for cheap. I've gotten some pretty great deals. However, some things you can definitely get for less at asian stores etc. Right now the ataulfos there are around $12 a box, but my dad buys the same boxes from an asian store for $8. Some things like those red Bard Valley packs of dates, which stores sell in bulk, are probably a much better deal at OFT. 

In general, we do it for convenience, so time doesn't have to be wasted for going to stores, and looking for things that aren't guaranteed to be there each time. We also prefer the freshest stuff possible. Getting greens there is great - just a box of 12 packs of romaine, and you're good to go. Never have a problem with them going bad too soon. If I buy papaya, I'll buy 10-20 boxes at a time, etc. Since we typically go through more than 10,000cals per day, I'll drive down every 4-7 days. It's preferable to get there before 10, as warehouses start closing even towards noon.

Regarding getting in there - it's not very hard. We just found a way to register a business. I'll say this though - all of the salesmen in the warehouses are on commission. At first, and with certain individuals, they can be visibly annoyed when they get somebody buying small quantities, as you're taking up their time with your 2 boxes of mangoes, when potentially that other guy from Sobeys will buy 202 boxes. I buy pretty large amounts, and visit there consistently, personally know the salespeople, and it's pretty chill, but it took time. I did initially get asked by multiple salesmen regarding the nature of my business and so on.

All in all, it's convenient if you buy ALOT. If however, you've a nice store nearby that you can buy bulk from, and it's less hassle for you, then by all means it might be the option. You can find anything you want at OFT, but it can often be expensive. There were mangoes there at a time, flown in from Israel, $95 per case. A case of organic blueberries can go from $18 to $50. I used to buy a case of organic celery there for ~$32, now the prices for it has been as high as $85 for the past month and a half.

Does this generally help? Let me know if you have more questions.     

Thank you, appreciate it =)

Yeah, I was actually wondering if it's worth going there if I'm not buying huge volume (like a whole family) as I'm getting $8 box of mangoes and other good deals at an Asian market as well. I'll pm you if I have any more questions :) Thanks!

This was an old post but the exact type of info I was looking for! Would you be able to give me any advice on the type of business you registered? Thanks.

they have a place like this near miami when i go to visit my family.  i forget what it is called, but we call it the tomato place.  only it's NOT like this place because it's not necessarily for markets, but they seem to have this stock of fruit, and even though it's not the same place i honestly thought it was before reading because i looked at the pics first.  people don't haggle prices, but it's like a warehouse whole seller or something where they sell fruits and veggies by the case, at whole sale prices.  it's like a costco for fruit.

I'm so glad to know these are everywhere!!!

We are in Oman, and I JUST FOUND OUT where the local one is. Now I notice that all the stores will have the SAME types of produce at the SAME time. And it's pennies on the dollar if you buy it straight from the source. Ours doesn't require a membership - you just show up; it's like a giant farmer's market.

I felt so ripped off when I figured this out!

Super cool! Where would one go to find the nearest terminal?

This. I need to know this info!

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