I usually buy my apples as "seconds" which if you are not familiar with the term, basically it means that they aren't perfect. The "firsts" are what you see neatly displayed at your local orchard, they are big, lucious and beautiful...but they come with a hefty price tag as well. So the seconds are usually smaller, sometimes misshapen, sometimes imperfect and they sell for about half the price. If you get really lucky you can get ahold of "thirds" which make fantastic fruit leather and applesauce, as long as you don't mind that sometimes you have to throw an apple or two away and sometimes you cut out a bad spot.
When I stopped by a roadside vendor I was amazed at what I found, 30# of carrots for $5.00! And then 40# bags of apples (that is a whole bushel) for $8.00!!! I was so excited my husband was almost embarrased! We also tried sugar beets (just tasted them) and were amazed at how good those were too, however, I did not buy any of those. When I buy the 40# bushel of apples at home, as seconds I pay $30.00 so $8.00 was obviously a huge thrill!!! These are not for the most part fresh eating apples as they are mostly mealy textured, however, I am making dried fruit, applesauce and tomorrow I think I will try my hand at fruit leather too. This is one happy farmgirl!