Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Second Set of Lessons From a Week-Long Bible Camp, Part 3

I could talk about purchasing for several weeks to come. It's one of the most critical tasks of the camp chef.

Think about Where You’re Going to Shop

For three years, I've purchased about 75 percent of the food from Sysco Foodservice of San Francisco. Large foodservice houses, like Sysco, U.S. Foodservice and Smart and Final, can be a Godsend. They conveniently deliver the bulk of the groceries in a one-hour period. This saves you from making a dozen trips to local markets.

But let the buyer be aware. They may require the organization's credit history and a financial guarantee of payment. Jump-start the application process three months ahead of the first delivery. We did and soon discovered the lead time was worth the effort due to delays in the approval process.

The large food service houses only split case lots when it's to their benefit. Costco, on the other hand, doesn't always carry a wide selection of foodservice items. Two years ago, for instance, I couldn't locate #10 cans of refried beans at Costco Santa Cruz. I didn't purchase the beans from Sysco because they required that I purchase a case (6 #10 cans), which was too much. I had to purchase 24 #303 cans instead.

I purchase the bulk of frozen products and produce from Sysco. Costco and Smart and Final supply many of the dry goods and paper supplies. I use the local Safeway for some produce and emergency supplies.

The photographs are of Daybreak Camp kitchen, Felton, California.

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