Q: How can I pay for my order?
A: We accept Visa and Mastercard and PayPal (American Express and Discover can also be used through PayPal).
Q: Do you have a minimum order size?
A: There are no order minimums.
Q: Can you do a rush order?
A: Generally no. It's first come, first serve. We can sometimes make exceptions in extreme cases (pending move, vacation, etc.) Rush orders are basically asking everyone else who is in line for an order to wait. We try to be fair with everyone.
Q: Is there free shipping?
A: Yes! All product lines except Rainy Day have free shipping!
Q: How long will it take to ship my order?
A: We process all orders immediately upon receipt. Shipping time will vary depending on volume and the products you are ordering. You can check this here: current shipping times. This page is kept current and changes weekly, sometimes daily due to high order volume.
Q: Can I get a freight quote?
A: If you want an order quote for freight shipment (300 lb minimum) simply email us and we'll give you a current freight quote. Please read this page for complete instructions.
Q: Do you ship to Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico or Canada?
A: Generally no. Shipping to these locations is very expensive. We have made numerous exceptions to this policy, particularly with Alaska. We can ship to a barge company in Seattle or anywhere in Washington or even Oregon, and the order can be barged up to Alaska. See the notes below about Canada.
Q: What can I ship directly into Canada?
A: Nothing, not anymore. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency can be a real problem. We do not ship directly into Canada anymore as a result. Canadians can have their orders shipped to a US border town for pick up. Any GST or any duties / fees incurred when they cross the border is the responsibility of the buyer.
Q: Can you ship internationally?
A: No. Out of the many hundreds who have now inquired, nobody has ever once agreed to pay the overseas shipping costs (ever, not even once in 21 years). So we simply categorically say no to this question.
Q: Can I pay C.O.D.?
A: No, all orders must be prepaid in full, including any applicable shipping charges at time of order.
Q: Do you have a layaway plan?
A: No, we don't find much demand for this and it would create higher prices (and innumerable problems) for everyone. Canneries are constantly changing their prices and layaway would compound this problem dramatically.
Q: Can I or my group / business get a large order discount?
A: Yes. We need to see the order first before we can answer this question in detail. We will need item numbers and quantities.
Q: Where are the canneries located?
A: The canneries (there are now six) are located in southern Idaho, three in California, Oregon and Virginia. Depending of the foods you order, we will ship directly from the cannery or warehouse nearest to you.
Q: Can I pick up the food myself at the cannery?
A: Yes, but only the Rainy Day cannery in southern Idaho permits this. This would only be cost effective now if you were in zone 2 (within a few hundred miles radius) of the cannery. This also must be scheduled into the regular production stream like all orders.
Q: Can I pick up the food at your warehouse?
A: No. We do not permit walk-in service at our location. The only product line that can be picked up is at Rainy Day Foods, located in southern Idaho.
Q: How large is a case of #10 cans?
A: The #10 can is a gallon sized can (large coffee can size). A case is 6 cans and ships in a box 13" deep x 7.5" high x 19" wide.
Q: The product I'm looking at shows "out of stock" - what does that mean?
A: We do not have this item in stock. The cannery is currently "out of stock". Missing items are simply refunded back to your credit card after your order has been filled (because we will still make the attempt to obtain the item for you during the fulfillment process and it may come back into stock in that time frame).
Q: What brands or product lines do you carry?
A: We carry many! A brand - or product line - are products from a single cannery, such as Mountain House, or Rainy Day, etc.
Rainy Day Foods
Van Drunen Farms
Alpine Aire - discontinued
Augason Farms - discontinued
Valley Foods - discontinued
Quickstove - discontinued
Silverfire - discontinued
Q: What happened with the discontinued product lines?
A: These product lines were discontinued due to problems with these suppliers. Our policy for years has been only to work with reputable companies.
Q: What is the difference between dehydrated food and freeze dried food?
A: Dehydrated food is made dry by a dehydration process. This is usually done in ovens where the food is subjected to low temperature heating to remove the moisture from the food. The food is not cooked prior to dehydration, thereby preserving all of its nutrients and nutrition. These foods are usually cooked during preparation, with exceptions being fruit (bananas, etc.), these do not require any cooking or water to eat, but can be rehydrated is you want.
Freeze dried foods are first precooked with all the ingredients used and then freeze dried by using an extremely cold vacuum that removes the moisture from the food. This an advanced food storage technique that results in best taste and texture.
Both processes result in very dry food that provide extremely long shelf lives. The main difference between the two techniques is cost. Freeze dried food in particular is more expensive to process this way. The other cost factor is that freeze dried food is first pre-cooked, then freeze dried, which also includes seasoning and other ingredients (other food items). Freeze dried foods (entrees) make for instant meals without cooking or mixing of ingredients or seasoning. For a more complete overview of the differences between freeze dried and dehydrated food, please see our dehydrated vs. freeze dried food page.
Q: How does dehydrated food taste? Have you eaten it?
A: Yes we have, quite a lot of it in fact and so have you. A lot of products you buy in the supermarket are dehydrated, such as rice, beans, spaghetti, macaroni, scalloped potatoes, pancake and waffle mixes, etc. We sell exactly the same products, except ours are packaged in bulk (you're not getting tiny packages full of air with us) and they are packaged for long term shelf life. The taste is the same as what you buy in the store for dehydrated foods. Most dehydrated products (but not all) are packaged without seasoning, or mixed with other foods (exceptions are dinner mixes, soups, etc.) You can mix and match products together as desired to make your own recipes, which are quite good. Adding seasoning helps for enhancing flavor. Our dinner mixes are already premixed and don't require any other additions (but you can if you want to).
Q: How does freeze dried food taste?
A: It's very good. Freeze drying is a more expensive method of food preservation and "locks in" the best taste and texture for the foods processed in this method. Taste is comparable to freshly prepared and cooked food (or even better), since it's all seasoned and the ingredients are proportioned correctly for you. Entrees for example, are complete meals, containing multiple ingredients and seasoning. Freeze dried foods are considered the very best and for food storage - it doesn't get any better than this.
Q: What is your opinion regarding MRE's?
A: MRE's are a different type of food product that do not require rehydration (adding water) before eating. You can eat MRE's right out of the package, but they do not have the same shelf life as dehydrated food. We have a much more detailed MRE page to tell you why we don't believe MRE's are a good idea to stock as your primary food storage choice. On average, the MRE's are good for about five years to seven years. Many people have consumed MRE's that are much older - 10 years or more, but the manufacture's shelf life is approximately 5 - 7 years. The colder you store your food, the longer it will keep and you can greatly extend the life of your food by ensuring your food is not subject to heat or temperature changes.
Q: Do you have any organic foods?
A: Yes, we carry quite a few organic foods. Due to new USDA regulations, we are having to change the advertising of these products to "Natural". These products come from the same companies as before. There is also a link for Natural Foods on the web site for all of our natural products under the Shopping Cart Links found on the bottom of the page.
Q: Do you have any non-GMO products?
A: The canneries specify non-GMO products from their wholesaler suppliers. Only soy and corn has the possibility of being GMO (non-GMO soy or corn cannot really be found anymore within the United States, we've checked into this). See our truth about non-GMO page for more information. This is perhaps one of the more misunderstood topics in the food industry with a great deal of hype, propaganda and deliberate misinformation to generate sales.
Q: What is a SP or an RB?
A: Both SP (Super Pail) and RB (Ribbed Bucket - since discontinued) are 6 gallon food grade buckets with airtight gasket lids, both SP and RB use the same food grade bucket, which is essential for proper food storage (don't use any old bucket). The SP has the superior advantage of the food first being placed in a vacuum packed metalized mylar bag with an oxygen absorber. You can expect the longest possible shelf life from Super Pail buckets, due to their superior properties. The only advantage the RB has is that it is slightly cheaper. See packaging details for more important information regarding our buckets.
Q: Which bucket type do you recommend? Superpail or Ribbed Bucket?
A: For ultimate long term food storage, the Superpail is far superior to the Ribbed bucket. Buckets are highly durable, but with the added protection of the mylar bag in the SP bucket, it's like having a second layer of armor protecting your valuable food from the elements. We will always recommend our customers choose Superpails over Ribbed Buckets. We strongly recommend that you conduct periodic checks on your Ribbed Buckets to ensure container integrity because storage conditions and barometric pressure changes can have an impact on the bucket.
Q: Can I get freeze dried food in buckets?
A: Not in the traditional sense, ie., 6 gallon bucket. The large #10 can (1 gallon size) is the largest container size offered by virutally all the manufactures of freeze dried products. There are now freeze dried pouches offered in buckets, but that's still a pouch sized serving (usually 2 servings per pouch) packed in a bucket. Survival Cave and Mountain House offers this and Rainy Day has some meal selections in buckets too. This is a great solution for many people.
Q: What is the nutrition content / values for dehydrated food? Is this better or worse then what I get in the supermarket?
A: Dehydrated foods are far more nutritious then canned or frozen foods (up to 5 - 6 times more nutritious). The only "better" food for nutrition is fresh food right out of your own garden. We have nutrition / ingredient pages for all of our food products.
Q: How can I tell which foods are dehydrated and which foods are freeze dried?
A: Mountain House products are all freeze dried. The Rainy Day Food line is the main dehydrated line and by far, the best bang for your buck. Van Drunen is all freeze dried. Survival Cave uses both dehdyrated and freeze dried ingredients. Knowing the difference between dehydrated and freeze dried can help understand how the food is prepared.
Q: What is "GF?"
A: GF means this product has been certified "gluten free." Many of our other products are naturally gluten free also, but you will need to read the product ingredients. These are not certified, but can easily be identified on whether they have any gluten in their ingredients.
Q: What is TVP?
A: TVP is Textured Vegetable Protein, which is made from soy. It looks like ground hamburger and can be added to soup, stew, pizza, scrambled eggs, etc., anywhere where you want a meat flavoring. TVP is "the" meat substitute for long term storage. You've likely eaten this before in restaurants, as it is widely used today in many meat products.
Q: Are there any additives, preservatives, or sweeteners used in the products?
A: You must read the nutrition facts for the particular item you are interested in. We have several thousand of these pages up on the site, so it's impossible to provide a single answer without looking up the product. Nearly all the Rainy Day products are "single ingredient" products with no additives or other ingredients.
Q: I have severe allergies and cannot eat anything that has had any contact with xxxx (peanuts for example). Is your food safe?
A: The food is processed on different machines that are in constant use and process various products. We do not accept any responsibility for any allergic reaction you might have for this reason. All of the food is processed in a USDA inspected facility, but people with severe allergies must follow their own best judgment. We cannot provide medical or dietary advice.
Q: What is the difference between Regular Milk and Instant Milk?
A: Both Regular Milk and Instant Milk mix with cold water. Instant Milk can be used right away, Regular Milk should be refrigerated before using.
Q: What is the difference between Egg Mix and Whole Eggs?
A: Egg mix is best for baking, since it also contains powdered shortening. Whole eggs are best for scrambled eggs, containing only eggs and nothing else. You can however, make scrambled eggs from egg mix.
Q: Is there any MSG in the dehydrated food products I order?
A: No, none of our dehydrated food products contain MSG.
Q: Are there any preservatives?
A: Generally, no. There is an exception with sliced apples, they contain sulfur dioxide to prevent browning. Most of our foods are all natural, with no preservatives and no MSG. The majority of our foods are "single ingredient" and contain nothing else, just that particular food. You are encouraged to read the ingredients pages of the products you are interested in for full details.
Q: What type of cans do you offer?
A: All of our food products (freeze dried and dehydrated foods) are available in enameled #10 (gallon sized) cans or #2.5 (large soup can sized) cans (we also have foil pouches and mylar bags). Each can contains an oxygen absorber to remove all the oxygen from the can, ensuring long life of the food stored in the can. You can expect 10 - 20+ years on your food storage in cans (for most products), if stored in a cool, dry place, depending on the individual product (read the shelf life page). We are very conservative on our shelf life, if your cans or buckets are stored in a cool dry place, many of our products will store 15 - 20 years or even more.
Q: How are the cans packed?
A: Each dehydrated food can contains the selected food product and an oxygen absorber. By getting rid of the oxygen, the food will last much longer. This leaves no detectable oxygen in the cans.
A small vacuum is created in the can by using the oxygen absorbers. Air contains 78% nitrogen and 20% oxygen. The oxygen is absorbed and the nitrogen is ignored by the oxygen absorber.
Each can is then labeled with the following information:
1) The can's ingredients;
2) The net weight of the food in the can;
3) The serving size;
4) The number of servings per can;
5) Directions for preparation;
6) The nutritional facts per serving;
7) Daily nutritional requirements based on a 2000 calorie diet; and
8) Calories per gram of fat, carbohydrates and protein.
Q: What other things will I need with my food?
A: Cooking oil is an essential source of fats and should be stored along with you food unit / food storage. This is not a product we carry, as it has a fairly short shelf life and needs to be rotated (used). The type of oil is up to you, but 4 gallons per person per year is the recommended figure. While we recommend this, it is not required for any of our food units.
Q: Why is the shelf life so long? How come I can't get this shelf life with the foods I buy in the store?
A: There are several reasons for this. Dry packed foods contain no moisture, unlike most products purchased at the grocery store, which are considered "wet pack". Wet pack foods loose their nutrition to the water they are packed in. Frozen foods lose nutrition because the cells break down in the freezing process. Dry pack foods avoid both of these problems.
Food drying has been around for many centuries, but the food was still exposed to the affects of oxygen, rodents, bugs, mold and bacteria and sometimes not dried very well. By packaging the food in airtight containers using modern canning methods, the food storage shelf life was increased dramatically.
Dry pack foods purchased in the grocery store doesn't offer the right kind of packaging. For example, spaghetti comes in a plastic bag at the grocery store. Although this is the exact same product we carry, we package it up differently to ensure a long shelf life. By using airtight containers, oxygen absorbers, we remove the possibility of rodents, bugs, mold and bacteria damaging the food.
Let's be honest here. Most of the food cost you're paying for in the supermarket is fancy packaging and air. Not only are the packages small, but their filled with more air then actual product. Not a very good deal for you. The actual quantity of food your getting is relatively tiny in relationship to the fancy package. This is a marketing scheme of course, to get you to come back constantly to buy more food each week, or even every day.
Corn meal is a good example to use for shelf life. Many people have experienced weevils or bugs in their store bought corn meal after storing this for a few months. The reason is because the bug eggs are found in the food, and the oxygen in the poor packaging allows the eggs to hatch. Other problems you have probably experienced is how food will inevitably grow stale when sitting in your pantry. This too is caused by oxygen which breaks down the food freshness (and bacteria). These problems can be avoided dramatically by dry packing the food in airtight containers. The grocery store chains don't do this because they're selling food they expect you to eat within a few days or weeks.
We don't carry any wet-packed products (except MRE's and real canned meat) making all of our products have a very long shelf life far in excess of what you buy at the supermarket. "Wet pack" is the can of green beans you buy at the store, or fresh meat or anything at all that is packaged containing water. Bacteria, mold, mildew, bugs and rodents can attack these foods.
Q: Are all products sold "fresh?"
A: Yes. We don't sell "old stock" We're far too busy to ever have any anyway. Our products are shipped directly from the cannery with a high turn over of existing stock, which means the food is constantly being prepared and packaged fresh.
Q: After I open up a can or a bucket, how long do I have to eat the food? A week?
A: More like a couple of years. Opened cans and buckets can keep the food dry by simply keeping the lid in place. Our cans all come with plastic lids and you can reused the bucket lid to keep the humidity and moisture out. Opened products kept dry can be gotten into and out of for several years in most cases. A bucket of food contains a LOT of food and you will have plenty of time to use up the product once opened.
Once opened, you can simply toss out the oxygen absorber found inside, this will be depleted and cannot be restored. You don't need (or want to) add more oxygen absorbers once the product has been opened. Simply use up the product over the course of a few months or a few years, keeping the lid in place between uses. We recommend that once buckets are opened, to use a #10 can (coffee can or something similar) to transfer product from buckets to smaller containers, and use the food in those containers. This leave the bucket closed between 'refills'. You can also store the smaller containers much more easily in your pantry then you can the bucket.
Some of our freeze dried manufactures, such as Mountain House recommend you eat the food within two weeks (#10 cans, for example). We've found that this can be dramatically "ignored" by simply keeping the plastic lid on the food. We've eaten our opened containers of freeze dried food over 3 years later with no noticeable deterioration in taste or quality.
Be careful of storage conditions in overly high temperatures and high humidity. All our cans come with a plastic lid to close them after removing the metal lid with a can opener. Although these lids are not air tight, if you live in a dry climate, they do provide enough protection to keep your dehydrated foods fresh for a fairly long time. However, if you live in a humid area or think it will take you several months to use up the contents, we suggest putting the food into a different container after opening the can.
Here's the problem... as the barometric air pressure rises and falls, it pushes and pulls air into and out of your opened cans around the plastic lid. As it does this it will bring in moisture with it that's absorbed into the food. When enough moisture has been absorbed that the food becomes pliable, the storage life has been seriously degraded and you need to use it up. If you wish to be a bit cautious, when you open a can, transfer it's contents into other air tight containers. The best solution is to put your food in Zip-lock bags. As they have flexible walls, they can bend with the air pressure changes so there's never a difference of pressure between the inside and the outside of the bag wall, such as what you do find with rigid walled containers. With your food in baggies, you can throw them right back into the #10 can the food came out of and put the included plastic lid back on the top.
We are also often asked, "Don't I need to put more oxygen absorbers into the can after opening it?" No, it's not necessary. These foods aren't fragile - they can take a certain amount of abuse before their nutritional or taste qualities deteriorate very much. Right now in my family's pantry in the kitchen, we have dozens of #10 cans that are partly full, some of them having been open for several years. In every instance, the foods are still completely serviceable. Granted, we live in a dry, cool climate, ideal for dehydrated food storage.
Q: Do I need to repackage the items you sell in bags or boxes?
A: Yes, if you intend to keep them for long term. Bagged and boxed items are available through our web site, these are the big bulk bags or boxes of grains or potatoes, eggs, milk, anything like that sold in bulk bags or boxes. If you want to store these products for long term, you will need to seal these items up in air tight containers. We recommend 6 gallon plastic buckets with gasket lids. Use 1 or 2 oxygen absorbers per bucket (D-500 size) and hammer the lids down on tight. Store these buckets in a cool, dry location for longest possible shelf life.
Q: Do I need a mylar bag?
A: We recommend them for bulk food storage in buckets. Mylar is impermeable to oxygen. Our mylar bags must be heat sealed with a hot iron (they come open on one end). The zip lock is only used AFTER the mylar bag has been filled from the open bottom and heat sealed.
Q: Can I make substitutions on one of the foods plans you offer?
A:Yes! We have provided the item numbers in our food units to help you do this easier.
Q: Why you sell food? To help people prepare?
A: Yes. We've been doing this a long time. We've read everything we can about world issues and have come to realize that food security is going to be a matter of life or death for billions of people, including us. We believe that food will be a strategic resource in the near future. Having sufficient food on hand to endure food shortages, riots, poor harvests, climate change, drought, and more will be essential. It's one of the reasons why we specialize in the food business. The need to endure from season to season is going to be absolutely essential. Food security brings peace of mind, safety and personal freedom.
The reality is, hardly anybody today actually knows how to feed themselves and grow all of their own food. Nor do people know how to actually preserve their own food from season to season, or preserve the seeds for the next planting. Some people do, but it's really just a tiny percentage of Americans. The fact is, nobody taught us or showed most of us these basic skills - and now we're in serious trouble because of it. Having a food storage plan on hand while we go through the painful process of learning how to feed ourselves is going to be an issue of life or death. Many mistakes are made trying to grow your own food, and the actual harvest (and very important, the preservation of that harvest) will not be sufficient until years of experience are gained. A food plan will be essential in our opinion as the world adjusts to catastrophic changes. Those that don't have one will suffer, greatly. Those that do will have the necessary and essential cushion until the world and the people in the world transition to a localized community, where their food is no longer transported from thousands of miles away.
Like our namesake, food is an asset.