A transplanted Southern Californian living in North Dakota Idaho, with some insights on life with deaf dogs, a gluten free spouse, and the occasional mischievous garden gnome. Thank you for visiting and I hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Nursery Auction - Fertile, Minnesota

Last week one Alycia's co-workers tipped me off to a nursery auction happening about an hour away from Grand Forks near Fertile, Minnesota (which is a fabulous name for an agrarian community). Apparently a huge nursery was going out of business and selling everything, I mean everything - plants in pots, plants in the ground, pots, pallets, tractors, greenhouses, even the land, everything. And this was all going down over three days, and I wanted in on it.

So yesterday I dropped Alycia off at school and drove about an hour to the nursery site just north of Fertile, MN. The nursery was huge and you can see the auction website HERE (not sure how long this link will stay good). The amount of things they were selling was simply staggering. There were 13 fields of various rows of trees in the ground, being sold in lots of between 20 and 100 trees, mostly in blocks of 30 to 50. The auction guide had an 18 page listing, 42 listings per page = about 750 individual lots to sell.

I got there at 10:00 as the sale of the land started, and since I didn't have the cash to buy any of the 560 acres of land in various plots, I checked out the small lots of above ground potted plants and trees. There was a great selection of shrubs and a few dozen lots of fruit trees, mostly Honeycrisp Apple Trees, in groups of 3-6 trees, perfect for me to haul away in the Toyota Camry.

At 11:00, they started they auctioning off everything else that wasn't land. The auctioneer explained how rare this type of auction was (due to the volume of stuff and nature of it - apparently nuseries don't go out of business very often) and reminded everyone that they had a LOT of items to get through. He also noted that they wouldn't start on the above ground plants and trees, which is what I wanted, until after they'd gone through the 18 page listing of in-ground rows of trees first. I quickly realized that when it took them almost a half hour to get through the first page, that my math meant I would have to wait 7-8 hours (assuming they kept the same pace) to get to the items I was interested in. :(

I hung out for almost an hour, realized they were no closer to the items I wanted to bid on, and took off. Bummer.

I did chat briefly with a very amiable (though funky smelling) Amish fellow who asked me "Do you know the differences between the various crab apple trees?"

To which I responded, "I'll bet you very last zipper and electrical appliance I own that I couldn't tell a crab apple tree from a Mancana Ash Tree (they were selling lots of these too)". Actually I just said "nope, sorry". Much like the Germans, the Amish are not to be trifled with and don't appreciate sarcasm....

As usual, I forgot to bring my camera, so I don't have any pictures of this scene, though it was a lot of fun.

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