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Buying Dry Goods Online: beans, fruit, grains etc.


helenjp
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If I could find a single online source that sold black feijao preto beans, green split peas, scarlet runner beans, dried cherries, and raw almonds!

Failing that, where do you buy your dry goods online? Or don't you shop online for beans, peas, grains, dried fruits, herbs, spices, etc? If you do, where does your eye go first? To words like "organic" and "heirloom", or straight to the price?

...also, what do you like to have on hand in your pantry?

I only buy buy dried fruit for making fruit cakes, but beans are a passion. Can't keep them all on hand without drowning in cascades of bright, shiny beans, but these are some of my favorites:

Lima: a type of very small rounded baby lima called "tebou" in Japan, big chestnut/Christmas Lima

Runner: scarlet runner

Common: snowcap, black turtle (but these seem to vary hugely in quality)

Edited by helenjp (log)
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Bulk commodities are terribly expensive to buy online--often quite high prices for the goods, and then extremely expensive shipping.

I have had to resort to online for purchases of wheat for my mill because at times local stores have had such trouble getting my special orders right--they ordered flour instead of wheat berries, red berries instead of white, hard instead of soft wheat. But the online ordersmay cost 2-3 times in freight more than the actual cost of the grains--making it worth trying to educate the local shops.

And I resorted once to online to get dried pears recently, because they seem to have vanished from all the local stores.

Other than that, these are goods I buy locally, or pick up the oddity here and there while traveling. I'll take a fine bag of beans over souvenir shoes any day!

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Helen, a quick look at nutsonline.com finds your cherries, almonds, organic green split peas, and quite a few varieties of beans.

Their customer service is quite responsive in terms of other things that may not be on their website.

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Sign up to get the periodic email newsletters from the various suppliers.

Purcell and Barry Farm in addition to Rancho Gordo for beans.

I buy a lot of grains from Barry farm.

Some vendors occasionally offer free shipping or flat rate reduced shipping for orders over a certain amount.

I often buy from Prepared Pantry and King Arthur Flour when they offer free shipping.

I forgot to mention Seed Savers Exchange also sells heirloom beans. Some organic.

Sometimes they have varieties not available elsewhere.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Helen, a quick look at nutsonline.com finds your cherries, almonds, organic green split peas, and quite a few varieties of beans.

Their customer service is quite responsive in terms of other things that may not be on their website.

Nuts Online is excellent.Their crimson and jumbo raisins, cherries, crystallized ginger, everything very good (and nuts, too). Purcell Mountain gets my vote for beans.

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Rancho Gordo for great heirloom beans and Anson Mills for heirloom corn meal and grits. Not that I eat these all the time - probably two to three pounds of quality grocery store beans for every pound of Rancho Gordo because we eat a lot of beans here, but definitely worth it.

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I can only speak for beans, since there are plenty of good local sources for grains, dried fruits and nuts. The type of bean you want, the freshness factor, the price per pound and shipping costs all figure into what determines an on-line buy, doesn't it?

Some types of beans are hard to come by or unusual. For me, that's where Rancho Gordo comes in. The beans are always super fresh, and if you order several pounds the $8 flat shipping rate is a good deal. The beans are not cheap; if I wanted to buy pinto beans I probably would look elsewhere, but uncommon varieties such as Good Mother Stallard and Rebosero and other occasional beans have been worth the extravagance. I know enough now to order at least 2 bottles of RG's Mexican Oregano with every order.

Purcell has about the largest selection of beans I've ever encountered, and they have a fair number of organic beans as well, if that's important to you. Most of their beans are a little less pricey per pound than RG, but their shipping costs can really add up. For a while they were my only source for rattlesnake beans (now I have no source.) Purcell's organic dark red kidney beans are the best; fantastic for Red Beans 'n' Rice. Their beans seem very fresh and are as clean as RG's.

Barry Farms is new to me, so I went on line to check them out. The bean varieties seem to vary in price more than other suppliers. The more common beans like pintos are under $3 per pound, which is pretty good for mail order I think, although if you live in an area with some good Mexican markets the bulk pintos have a high turnover and are a better deal than mail order. I didn't get far enough to figure out Barry's shipping costs, but if other bean freaks on eG like their beans, I would assume the stock is fresh. After all, with RG and Purcell, the bar is set pretty high.

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Well, not necessarily, as beans are expensive here (usually nice quality but stupidly expensive, and never a bulk-buy economy item!)I also thought it would be nice to pool what we know about online sources...I know I won't be recommending the people in Lebanon who not only sent me their stuff so badly packed that a bottle broke in transit, but interested the Japanese customs so much that it arrived absolutely encased in yellow customs tape!

I'm very glad to hear what people have to say - I saw Purcell's site and knew about Rancho Gordo's, but had no idea what their quality was like (and have yet to find out if they ship overseas. And don't forget that grits are a fascinating exotic food for me!

Australia has several sites that sell dried fruit, for example Healthy Valley Organics, but they don't sell beans. I don't have any experience of them or know if they ship outside Australia.

P.S. Thanks for the Nuts Online and Payson Fruitgrowers recommendation - it's next to impossible to buy raw, non-fried nuts or unsweetened dried fruit here. I see Payson has unsweetened cherries.

Bella Viva Orchardshave unsweetened fruit and some nice-looking gift packs...has anybody bought from them or have any comments on their prices?

Edited by helenjp (log)
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Yes, I could never quite get past paying 700 yen for 500 g of kidney beans at my local discount market in Japan. The quality was always fine, but no better than I'd had in any other country. Never mind the gas charge for cooking them!

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I'm curious about any difficulties you face getting foodstuffs through customs. I've never tried getting anything through Australian Quarantine other than cans of maple syrup. I keep going to the Rancho Gordo site and drooling, but the thought of the likely AQS hassle puts me off.

I was checking Australian sites that I thought might be useful to you, but they only seem to ship in Australia. However, it might be worth asking them directly.

I've used Santos and Honest to Goodness for a few things. I really like the beans and flours from Santos, but I haven't been as happy with the small amount of dried fruit I tried. Personally, I find that I actually get better prices and quality when I order these sorts of bulky things online than when I try to find them in a shop. Generally I prefer organic, but I'm a sucker for heirloom. And either way, the prices still have to be reasonable (granted my definition of reasonable changes despending on my modd).

These sites and a few others are mentioned in the online shopping thread in the Aus/NZ forums.

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P.S. Thanks for the Nuts Online and Payson Fruitgrowers recommendation - it's next to impossible to buy raw, non-fried nuts or unsweetened dried fruit here. I see Payson has unsweetened cherries.

Have you tried Kikuya? I bought stuff like raw almonds and sunflower and pumpkin seeds through them, plus I'm pretty sure their dried apples and apricots were unsweetened, though they may have had sulfites.

No beans, though.

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Didn't know about Kikuya, thanks!

Just as a price comparison, currants at Kikuya are around 1200JYE per kg. That works out around USD6.50 per lb. - the Nuts Online price is USD2.99 per lb (1-3 lb bags), the Australian ADFA price is USD3.53 per lb (in a kilo pack), and the organic currants offered at the Australian Honest to Goodness site are USD7.46 per lb (500g pack). Nuts Online don't mention where their currants are from, Kikuya's are American, and the Australian ones naturally from Australia.

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I forgot about Chef Pride. I had registered for the site with the intention of buying stuff (they have a lot of hard-to-find ingredients like frozen fruit purees, etc.), but I never did. I was never really sure if it was a wholesale site or if anyone could buy from them. They have some beans (but not a lot), dried fruits, etc. Great selection of meats (lamb, fowl--including some freshly killed small birds still with feathers!), horse, etc.), too, but those don't really fall under the dry goods category. . .

http://www.chefpride.co.jp/

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