Riverbend Home Educators visited a local Publix grocery store for our October field trip. I had my doubts about considering a grocery store as a field trip, but I have to say, it was terrific!
We began our day in the bakery, and come on, any day that begins in a bakery is a good day! We watched a cake decorating demonstration and were given warm cookies to sample. We learned that this particular Publix bakes 50-60 loaves of bread in a normal day, but as many as 150-200 a day during the holidays!
Next, we moved along to the Deli where we were met with slices of yellow American cheese that had just been cut off the block. Then, the kids watched a rather impressive sub-sandwich assembly demonstration before moving on to the hot bar and receiving fried chicken samples. To conclude our visit to the deli, the children were shown the machine that makes Publix popcorn fresh every morning and they each left with a full bag of fresh popcorn.
Our next stop was produce. And, I have to say, as a mom who frequents grocery stores, Publix has a beautiful produce department. It is clear that they put a lot of effort into their displays. In fact, the manager who was escorting us noted that the produce employees are often among the very first to the store in the morning (5 am) and the last to leave in the evenings (11 pm). We also learned that this Publix was currently going through 10-15 cases of fresh pineapple every single day. Lastly, we each departed with a particularly sweet and crisp cup of grapes.
The next two departments we visited were Seafood and Meats. No samples were given here, much to the parents dismay. But the children were active in asking questions and the Publix staff was so wonderfully patient with them while they explained even the smallest nuance of their jobs. The kids did inquire about the hair nets the employees wore and as a result they were each given one. Some moms may have had fun with the nets as well...
From there, we moved on to the back of the store to see how Publix functions behind the scenes. We met the grocery manager who checks all the store orders, saw the stock area, and watched boxes crushed into 2,000 pound bales to be recycled. Lastly, the children got to experience the zero degree freezer, just briefly, of course, and they were duly impressed.
The final department was the pharmacy and we learned that the Publix we visited processes 300-400 prescriptions on an average day. The children were able to ask about the schooling required to become a pharmacist, how certain medications had to stored, and about the medication ordering process.
Before we left the store, Publix was kind enough to set up a register and let the kids all have a turn ringing up store items. Fully equipped with their new Publix employee tags they eagerly rang up a bill of nearly $700.
Again, I have to say that I was dubious about this field trip location but it was absolutely among the best. Publix is obviously a great place to work because the employees were genuinely happy to spend their day with us. Thank you, Publix!