Reclaimed Food Show and Tell

reclaimed produce

This past week Mr. Produce Guy gave us 3 banana boxes filled with produce. Since we are still swimming in lettuce from last week,  I decided to give all but a few leaves to the chickens.

fresh produce

This time around we salvaged lettuce, watermelon, strawberries, apples, broccoli, carrots, and blueberries. Holy cow man, there was a little bit of everything. Does anyone know what the retail value on this would be? I’m thinking somewhere in the $20 range.

chickens at the garden gate

Happy chickens waiting for their treats.

chicken scraps

Typically I try and divide up the scraps so the chickens will get one fat, juicy container every 2 days or so.


I’m not sure how many chickens out there get to dine on fresh produce scraps year round, but our birds sure do love them. And you know what I love? The money I save on chicken feed.

Peace Out Girl Scouts, have a great day.


Would you like to see what else we have brought home over the past 8 1/2 months?

Head on over HERE to read all the past stories and to see all the pictures.

If you would like to learn more about raising chickens and all the fun and excitement it brings… Check out The Joy of Keeping Chickens: The Ultimate Guide to Raising Poultry for Fun or Profit By Jennifer Megyesi.  Amazon currently has it in stock and ready to ship.

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  1. michelle g-b says

    I bought 8lbs of oranges, a lb of broccoli, 5 lbs of carrots & 2 lbs of bananas yesterday & the retail price was in the $13 range, ‘course I was cherry-picking the sale items (except for the broccoli) and I had a “buy $10 worth of produce get $3 off coupon”, so….

    at least $20, especially with that melon & those berries!

    I don’t let my chickens read these posts. They’re pissed enough at me that I’m not out there in the rain & the mud every day pulling greens from the garden for them. Your girls are enjoying some kind of chicken nirvana.

  2. Laila Bernhartsen says

    I just wanted to let you know that this wonderful idea is closed off in many areas. I live in northern Virginia and have gone to all the groceries, large and small, in the area. No produce pickups allowed. Many donate to the local food bank, which is wonderful, but others lock up their dumpsters, yes, you saw that right Lock the Dumpsters. (One manager told me she turned a blind eye as a hobby farmer collected produce from the dumpster for his goats because she believed it ought to be ok, but corporate found out and applied the locks to the dumpster)

    One of the produce guys explained that there were many people who would take the gifted items and return them to the store for refunds, the store was being scammed enough that they have had to stop the practice.

    Bummer, too many people trying to steal and cheat the system have made it impossible for honest folk to feed their livestock cheaply (and maybe even their families, too).

    So, in my area at least, there is no cool produce guy for day-olds. >sigh<

    • EC says

      yes, this exact thing happens at my local independent grocer and i am not too far from mavis. i overheard the managers talking – i buy bulk organics this way, from the grocer, at just a little over cost. that is another way you might take this.
      there are organized gleaning groups, though, and in exchange for a job, you can pick up free stuff, volunteers take it to another pickup location that is not the store, but it’s usually heavily sprayed or full of crap ingredients (hfcs, dyes, soybean oil or crisco) i wouldn’t even give my chickens, so it’s not worth the time for me. i’d rather order and pick up the organic produce and let my chickens have whatever we can’t eat out of that.

      • Birgit says

        Here in Southern AZ, a volunteer organization called “The 3000 Club” (based in Phoenix- this is not the Foodbank) picks up fresh surplus produce from US growers just across the border in Mexico/Nogales, which the produce brokers couldn’t sell that day/week, due to overstock (see link below). It would otherwise just be carted back to end up in the border landfill in Nogales, although it is mostly pristine (“at 70% perfection or better”, as they call it).

        The produce crates are then distributed in refrigerated trucks to volunteer distribution sites all across the metropolitan areas in AZ (mostly school- and church parking lots on the weekend). For each $10 donation, or a yearly $100 subscription, you get to take home one huge box (up to 60 lbs) of fresh produce, usually things like tomatoes, eggplants, cucumbers, green beans, squash, occasionally fruit like all kinds of melons, citrus or even pre-packaged berries.

        Yes, it’s mostly waxed conventional produce (with those little stick-on labels already attached), but sometimes some organic pre-packaged produce sneaks in like mini tomatoes. The produce tables are set up like a buffet line, and you get to put in your box what you want when you walk past it.

        There are always very long lines for this “Market on the Move” (MOM), as the distribution sites are called, and there are all kinds of people in the lines, including vacationing retirees and many people with luxury cars who like a good deal. The idea is to take home all those goodies and “share the love” among friends, colleagues, neighbors. I share my box with two neighbors, and use the rest for canning if I have more than I need.
        Short videos:

        I had no luck asking for free “bulk” livestock scraps from the stores here; they point to the “dented” $0.99 cent produce table instead which is mostly only half off. Obviously, it’s not just liability; they’d rather throw it away than let someone take a box of slightly over the hill stuff knowing that the recipient then may not choose to buy as much. It cuts into the profits. It’s a miracle the 3000 club exists… I’ve wondered whether this creates a feedback loop; if stores sell less because of the MOM sites which then creates more produce for the MOM sites which makes the stores sell less… The solution would be to rethink mass agriculture and opt for better more sustainable growing methods, thereby avoiding the “waste” problem altogether.

        For now, the 3000 club allows access to veggies (albeit conventional) who might not otherwise be able to afford them to that extent (or some people just like a good deal- that’s ok, as each site always has MOUNTAINS of produce in crates to be distributed- and the rest gets tossed).

  3. Cyntha says

    Mavis, I would really appreciate knowing approximately what percentage of feed for your chickens is reclaimed produce? When asking for produce scraps I was told to do my research because you don’t want chickens to suffer nutritionally with out enough feed. Apparently some rabbits or chickens died. Most research has said about 10% but that was from many who sold feed. I know many chickens free range for bugs and protein so that helps. I want to go back with a good answer if if its on the low end but I want to know the real answer from someone who has lots of experience with this. How much do you think Mavis? Thanks!!!

    • EC says

      you can really tell day to day. if they are getting too much produce, they give you fewer eggs. it’s pretty amazing. i think you would have to be really not paying attention to actually have a bird die on you from nutritional deficiencies.

  4. Birgit says

    European cooking show using reclaimed food! From “Dumpster diving has become a kind of hip response to this waste of perfectly good food, and now a group of Austrian activists have taken “freeganism” to the next logical step: they’ve created a cooking show for food “rescued” from grocery and restaurant dumpsters.
    Started last Spring, Waste Cooking follows food from dumpster to dinner table. Part Food Network, part Greenpeace-style activism, each episode of the show (which is in German) follows the process of finding ingredients (complete with rubber gloves and headlamps), and then making a meal out of the found food. The meal isn’t just shared by the participants in the process, though: they set up an outdoor kitchen where the food is shared with passers-by. This last part creates opportunities for engagement: the Waste Cooking team does let people know that they’re “eating trash” (often after they’ve taken their first bite, of course), and then offers a bit of education on the amount of food that gets wasted in developed countries. Take a look at the short film version (see link above) they’ve put together (which has English subtitles).

  5. says

    A good week here, a nice variety of stuff!

    2013 Week One:
    3 heads romaine
    1 head green leaf lettuce
    7 sticks of celery
    5 large carrots
    2 tomatoes
    1/2 head cauliflower
    1 small bunch of baby broccoli
    1 apple
    1 tangerine
    1lb strawberries

  6. says

    I came across your site via pinterest… 100.00 a month for groceries for a family of 4! My hat is off to you! I agree about quality food cost money. But you get the return in your health! Good for you realizing that coupons are usually always for processed crap food that does nothing for our health or our weight!

    Where or how do you get the produce from? I have 26 chickens and 6 goats, that I would love to get that produce for! As you say cut that feed bill.. In the summer I have a huge garden, make that gardens… but during the winter fresh produce is slim pickings for the girls (chickens) and the goats. Does your local grocery save that for you?

  7. Beth says

    I decided to ask the produce manager if they had livestock scraps. Low and behold, I came away with a box of pears, tomatoes, apples, greens, etc for a buck! That’s right, $1! I am scavenging what I can for stews etc and the rest goes to the chickens. The produce gal was very eager to get rid of it but policy is that they have to sell it. I’ll be sure to go a couple times a week for that kind of deal. She said they don’t have anyone they save it for so all I have to do is ask for it. SCORE!

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