Author Topic: Penn Mac  (Read 5114 times)

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Offline pftaylor

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Penn Mac
« on: January 10, 2005, 10:13:45 AM »
Rose came through for me today. Just as I was getting ready to order Caputo 00 flour from the Chef's Warehouse for $72.40 (delivered to Tampa) she quoted a delivered price of $50.71 ($29.95 for a 50lb sack and $20.76 in shipping). I know it's a lot of flour but I'm willing to bet that if I freeze the flour it would stay fresh for the 6-12 months it will take to consume.

I also ordered a 6lb block of Grande Whole Milk Mozzarella @$3.99lb. I was told by Rose that the killer prices granted were actually the wholesale price that their reps use for restaurants. Of course, Rose mentioned that the reason for the killer pricing is directly due to Pete-zza and the gang at Pizza Making's web site.

One word of caution, don't talk trash on her beloved Steelers. Your price is subject to an immediate increase...
« Last Edit: January 14, 2005, 08:58:25 AM by pftaylor »
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Online Pete-zza

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Re: Penn Mac
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2005, 11:43:53 AM »
I'm glad to hear things worked out so well for you.  At the price you are paying, it comes out to less than a dollar a pound for the Caputo.  I thought of doing the same thing as you but my freezer is already full--with leftover pizza slices.  Even at room temperature, most flours (other than those that have a lot of natural oils that can lead to rancidity) will hold up for a year or so. 

BTW, PennMac has a lot of other good pizza items, like San Marzanos (including DOP) and Ezzo pepperoni slices, at pretty good prices also.  The PennMac website doesn't show most of what they sell, so it is a good idea to call Rose to inquire.  She's a really nice lady and is willing to offer discounts for volume purchases.

Peter

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Penn Mac
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2005, 07:08:31 PM »
PennMac Pricing update:
I received my order today and the Grande Whole Milk Mozzarella was $2.99/lb not $3.99lb as my initial post indicated.
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Online Pete-zza

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Re: Penn Mac
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2005, 07:15:37 PM »
Can you give us an idea of what the final price per pound was when shipping charges were included? I have discovered that the supermarket deli prices where I am run from about $5-$7 a pound, depending on the degree of "upscaleness" of the supermarket. And that's for brands like Stella and County Line that, while pretty good, don't compare with Grande. Of course, the pasteurized, shrink-wrapped balls of mozzarella cheese are somewhat cheaper.

Peter
« Last Edit: January 13, 2005, 07:20:07 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline Steve

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Re: Penn Mac
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2005, 07:27:58 PM »
PennMac Pricing update:
I received my order today and the Grande Whole Milk Mozzarella was $2.99/lb not $3.99lb as my initial post indicated.

How do they ship their cheese? Dry ice? Gel packs? Doesn't mozzarella cheese need to be kept under refrigeration? And how much was S&H?
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Offline pftaylor

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Re: Penn Mac
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2005, 08:37:27 PM »
The cheese was shipped in a styrofoam lined box with 2 medium sized gel ice packs(which could not have lasted another day). PennMac did not break out their shipping charges on a line item basis.

Here is a breakdown of their invoice:
Caputo flour 00, 50lb                                  $29.95
Grande Whole Milk Mutz, 5.77lb X $2.99lb  $17.26
UPS Ground Shipping to FL  (67lbs)            $30.00
Total                                                           $77.21

To be fair, I was originally quoted $3.99lb for the cheese. The invoice showed $2.99lb. However, I think PennMac charged a box or a handling fee because I was quoted, at the time I placed the order by Rose, a price of $20.76 in shipping for the flour and "it shouldn't be that much more for the cheese."

The "shouldn't be that much more for the cheese" turned out to be $9.24. So the 6lb block (actually weighed 5.77lb) cost $4.42lb delivered.

At the end of the day I'm still happy with PennMac's prices and the quality of products I received. I guess the styrofoam lined box and gel packs are expensive so the next time I place an order for Grande cheese I will order multiple blocks as the box was large enough to handle 3-4 more blocks of cheese. I will also make sure I know what the "total" shipping charge will be...
« Last Edit: January 14, 2005, 09:01:42 AM by pftaylor »
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Re: Penn Mac
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2005, 10:32:30 PM »
All things considered, I think you did quite well. The math often tends to get fuzzy when you are trying to get dry goods, which can go UPS Ground at one rate, and perishables that may have to go 2- or 3-day air at a considerably higher rate. Was PennMac able to package and ship everything so that the flour and cheese arrived at the same time and via the same method of shipment? Or did the flour come by UPS Ground and the cheese by air? Whatever way the cheese came, what you paid per pound was less than what I have to pay for lower-quality deli mozzarella cheese here in Texas.

Also, was the bag of flour actually 55 lbs. rather than 50 lbs.? When I saw the Caputo 00 at chefswarehouse.com, it was shown as a 25 kilo bag. As you indicated in an earlier post, just to get the Caputo 00 flour from chefswarehouse to Tampa you would have had to pay a total of $72.40, including shipping. So, by using PennMac instead, you really got the cheese for a pittance.

Peter
« Last Edit: January 13, 2005, 10:40:21 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline Randy

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Re: Penn Mac
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2005, 10:35:07 PM »
I bought a 50# bag of high gluten flour one time then decided the flour into 5# zip;lockck bags with a dried bay leaf in each bag.  Kept for a year in the pantry that way.

Randy
« Last Edit: January 13, 2005, 10:36:51 PM by Randy »

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Re: Penn Mac
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2005, 11:06:50 PM »
I have a bay leaf plant in my back yard and loaded up my pantry and bags of flour with the leaves and wasn't successful in deterring flour weevils. Maybe I was doing something wrong but when I researched the matter, the solution that was frequently recommended was to freeze the flour. I now do this with just about every bag of flour I get (for about 4 days for a 5-lb. bag) and I no longer have the problem. I also put the bags of flour in sealed plastic containers. When I had the infestation problem I would see the flour bags riddled with holes. The darn critters just eat through the bags, either on the way in or on the way out (or maybe it's two-way traffic).

Tom Lehmann, when asked about the storage of flour, mentioned the insect problem (he joked that the insects actually increase the protein content of the flour) and said "The only accepted way to store flour for long term is to freeze it for about 45 days and then transfer it to a cooler where it can be held for a year or more".  I'm certain that he was referring to 50-lb. bags.

Maybe a belt-and-suspenders solution is the best: put bay leaves in each of the bags of flour and then freeze the bags.

Peter
« Last Edit: January 13, 2005, 11:22:09 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline Randy

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Re: Penn Mac
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2005, 07:15:08 AM »
Peter the bay leaf keeps the weevils under control inside the sealed bag assuming they have not hatched.  If you had holes in your bag then you had bugs wanting in not out I would think.

Randy


Offline pftaylor

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Re: Penn Mac
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2005, 07:37:54 AM »
The cheese and flour were shipped and delievered together in one large shipping box via UPS ground service. Inside the outer shipping box, the 25 Kilo paper sack of Caputo Blue label 00 flour was placed inside a heavy duty trash bag with a knot tied at the top (you could literally pick up the flour by the knot). The trash bag adequately protected the thick paper flour sack from the rigors of overland transit (such as puncture or dampness).

The cheese was packaged in the previously mentioned styrofoam cooler box. My understanding of cheese requiring refrigeration is as follows; soft cheese requires refrigeration whereas hard cheese does not. I base this on the advice of the owner of Mazzaros Italian Market in St. Pete, FL who claims all hard cheeses come shipped unrefrigerated. I inquired as to why then did his store display all cheeses in refrigerated display cases. His response was because that's how the consumer wants to buy cheese.

Rose from PennMac claimed that they will only ship cheese with 3 day delivery or less. This is due to the gel packs reliably staying cold up to 3 days but no more. Fortunately, Florida is a standard 3 day delivery zone from Pittsburgh so I was not subject to much higher expedited shipping charges such as 3 day select, or 2 day delivery (blue). Economies of scale should come into to play with the cheese shipping charges on my next order. It's due to the extra room for a few more blocks of cheese in the box. This should spread out the cost of the box over 18 or so more pounds of cheese which might get the delivered cost to less than $4lb.

The lesson learned here is to order in bulk to get great prices, but maximize the shipping charges for each item by determining the ideal shipping weight "sweet spot" for each item. I define the sweet spot by balancing the relative quantity of the item needed to get the cheapest per pound shipping cost. In my case, it would have been 18-24lbs instead of 6. The downside, of course, is that you'll have cheese for a very long time and upfront costs are high. The upside, however, is that if you know the products you like it allows their purchase at the lowest overall cost.



« Last Edit: January 14, 2005, 08:24:45 AM by pftaylor »
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Re: Penn Mac
« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2005, 10:21:17 AM »
I have a love-hate relationship with King Arthur, but one of the neat online features that the KA site has is to tell you how much of something--in dollars and cents--you can buy before you hit the next shipping increase. Usually I have been able to find something that I need or can use to fill the gap.

I appreciate the explanation of the way PennMac operates in shipping perishables like cheese. A while back I bought a piece of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese from PennMac and it came separately in a well wrapped package. It was one of the freshest and nicest pieces of the cheese I ever had. Rose had mentioned that they process cheese orders only at the time of shipping, to insure freshness. I'm not certain which shipping zone I am in, but it may be worth investigating what it would cost to ship a block of the Grande mozzarella cheese to Texas. I'm not exactly sure how I would cut and package the cheese for long term storage--in a single block or in smaller pieces (e.g., 1-lb. like the shrink wrapped cheese balls)?

Peter

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Re: Penn Mac
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2005, 10:29:41 AM »
Randy,

Thanks for the clarification on the use of bay leafs. I suspect in my case I already had infestation and the leafs weren't effective at that point. I found the weevils inside and outside of the flour bags, wandering around looking for their next meal. They also like rice products, especially the organic ones, corn meal, and some cereals. They are discriminating in their tastes, however, since they don't seem to care for cake flour or pastry flour, at least in my experience.

pftaylor may want to use a combination of bay leafs and freezing and then sealing the smaller bags of flour in air-tight packages. That will be my modus operandi from now on.

Peter
« Last Edit: January 14, 2005, 01:57:19 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Penn Mac
« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2005, 10:14:58 AM »
Seems as if another lesson learned is in order for me: Inspect your delivery very carefully.

I want to give the forum members who are considering ordering Grande cheese from PennMac a heads-up to an apparent mixup with my last order. This may explain why I was charged $2.99lb instead of the agreed upon price of $3.99lb.

An inferior grade of whole milk cheese was substituted (F & A low moisture whole milk mozzarella). Since I have not previously seen what Grande cheese packaging looks like, I had no reason to suspect a substitution and quickly placed the cheese in my fridge upon delivery without giving it a second thought. It was only after my family complained of about the lack of quality of the cheese did I finally inspect the packaging. I did not approve a substitution at the time I placed my order and was very specific as to brand and type of cheese I desired. At this point I have called PennMac for clarification and to resolve the issue but while they are open today, their customer service department isn't.

I will update as soon as PennMac customer service connects with a suitable solution.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2005, 10:34:24 AM by pftaylor »
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Offline Steve

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Re: Penn Mac
« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2005, 11:06:15 AM »
I'm glad you pointed this out as I was very close to placing an order for Grande whole milk mozzarella and Ezzo pepperoni from them.
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Offline pftaylor

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Re: Penn Mac
« Reply #15 on: January 15, 2005, 11:29:52 AM »
Had I not been preoccupied with breaking down the huge quantity of flour into manageable amounts I might have caught the mistake last Thursday. Then again, I am the product of the Virginia public school system so ya never know...

Steve, a safe bet would be paying $3.99lb for the Grande. So if that's a good price for you I would go for it. PennMac has a guaranteed satisfaction policy on all orders so there is little risk.
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Offline Steve

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Re: Penn Mac
« Reply #16 on: January 15, 2005, 11:47:41 AM »
At this point, I can't find Grande cheese anywhere nearby. So, paying $3.99/lb is acceptable to try it once. Same goes for the Ezzo pepperoni.  :)
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Offline pftaylor

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Re: Penn Mac
« Reply #17 on: January 17, 2005, 12:07:31 PM »
Rose McNeil of Penn Mac called me this morning. She offered to ship at no charge a 6lb block of Grande cheese to make the situation right. I was so impressed with her offer that I offered to buy 3 more blocks so that we both win.

I expect the order to be delivered this Friday.
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Online Pete-zza

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Re: Penn Mac
« Reply #18 on: January 17, 2005, 12:54:05 PM »
I'll be interested to know how you decide to freeze the mozzarella cheese, especially if you end up with about 24 pounds of the stuff. I suspect the most obvious choices are to cut each block into individual managable sizes (e.g., 1-lb.), or shred the block and freeze in zip-type bags. I would think that this is one of those times where having a food-vac unit would come in real handy to preserve the quality of the cheese over extended periods of storage.

Peter


Offline Randy

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Re: Penn Mac
« Reply #19 on: January 17, 2005, 01:04:47 PM »
One way to freeze cheese is to shred it then put it in freezer zip lock bags.  But to make this work so you can get a single serving if you want is flatten the bags so they are say 1/2" thick.  When you need cheese, you just break off what you need.
We also cut the blocks into chunks sized to fit the shredder.
Both ways work fine.
The flat bag way works great for cut up strawberries and peaches too.

Randy