The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.office
    NEW OFFICES—Fayette village administrator Steve Blue speaks with tax administrator Genna Biddix at the new front desk of the village office. Village council members voted to use budgeted renovation funds targeted for the old office and instead buy the vacant bank building on the corner of Main and Fayette streets. The old office was sold to Sherwood State Bank. When everything is put into place in the spacious new village office, an open house will be scheduled. Council member David Wheeler donated all of his time needed to make changes in the bank interior to fit the Village’s needs.

2008.04.09 How old is that mayo on the shelf?

Written by David Green.

By RICH FOLEY

How brave are you when it comes to saving money on food? I recently saw a network news report on a new trend in the grocery industry—stores that deal solely with unwanted and outdated food.

Apparently this idea is really big in Pennsylvania, where the news reporter interviewed an owner of 17 such stores. The economy has many shoppers going to unusual lengths to save on their food budget.

Some of the food is simply in containers the manufacturer no longer wishes on the shelves. For example, several products, including cereal, were manufactured in boxes or bags tying in with the recent “Spiderman” movie.

Now that the movie is long gone from theaters, the manufacturers want to get rid of product in outdated packaging, and most supermarkets pass on it as well, even though it may be well within the sell-by date. The result, a bargain for shoppers at the closeout store.

That part of the business I can understand, but a huge part of the inventory in these closeout stores is simply outdated food of most all varieties. According to the report, the only products not allowed to be sold after their expiration dates are baby food and milk. Anything else is fair game for customers with little cash but strong stomachs and a taste (ha!) for adventure.

The reporter and the store manager even sampled some outdated cereal and granola bars with no ill effect. I wouldn’t have had a problem sampling them, either, but I noticed no one wanted to open the expired mayonnaise and try a spoonful.

The jar they showed was four months past its sell-by date and the manager bragged that it looked the same as fresh, but no taste test followed. I wonder how much they have to mark it down to find a willing buyer?

I would think that running a store based on outdated inventory is a bit of an black art. You’d have to have a good grasp on the relative “oldness” of each part of your inventory and at what points you have to discount the prices again to keep merchandise selling,  before you end up with products so old, no one will take them, no matter how cheap. Except, maybe, as a publicity stunt.

No doubt, many of you remember the famous Observer Miracle Donuts, first written about in this space eight years ago. A product of the previous millennium, they will be nine years old this December and still happily inhabit the Observer back room along with other assorted non-food oddments.

Although several donuts remain, they are largely out of sight and pose no real threat to anyone. Not so lucky is the Oregon state owner of a way out of date gallon of milk, whose girlfriend recently complained about him to syndicated advice columnist “Dear Abby.”

According to the writer, her new boyfriend, “Leon,” bought a gallon of milk five years ago when he got his first apartment. He didn’t drink it as fast as he had guessed he would and soon it was three weeks out of date. Then, time flew and it was suddenly six months old. As the owner of an ancient box of donuts, I know how this could happen.

Now, the remainder of the milk is nearing five years of age and Leon has kept it through two roommates, three girlfriends, seven jobs and get this, two refrigerators. The girlfriend complains that Leon is entertained by the reaction the milk gets when people learn of it, and it even has its own internet blog with a photo. Now there’s something I hadn’t thought of, a donut blog.

The girlfriend asked Abby if she should ask him to give up the milk, accept it, or leave. Abby answered that the milk seemed to be the only constant in Leon’s life and if he didn’t want to give it up, she would have to take the two as a package deal or “moove on.” I suspect by now Leon is looking for girlfriend number four.

I would never buy old milk and already have enough donuts, but last week I bought a product that’s sure to end up at the outdated food store. I noticed a box of Hershey bars for 49 cents at the cash register of a Wauseon store. It said something about “crisp bits” on the label and I was halfway home before I noticed it really said “with crisp corn bits,” with “corn” in microscopic type.

Yes, chocolate covered pieces of corn. Whose idea was this? It’s almost enough to make me want to resample a donut. Maybe with some finely aged Oregon milk. Or not. But please, hold the mayo.

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