Vocabulary Reading:

Vocabulary Reading: Measures

This article uses words from the 1000-2000 range of the General Service List. Read it. Then answer the comprehension questions.

Cheaper by the Quart

The farmer drove fourteen kilometers into town with a load of agricultural produce to sell. He had a lot of carrots, and bundles of broccoli. One corner of his truck was piled with potatoes. His prices were slightly lower than the others around him. Since he had an excess of green onions, he threw in a bunch with each person’s purchase. Besides vegetables, he also sold several quarts of honey and eggs by the dozen. By noon, he had made upwards of $200.


Although the Canadian government had changed to the metric system thirty some years ago, the farmer still thought of weights and measures in the old imperial system of quarts and gallons. Quarts and litres really weren’t that different – just different enough to be slightly confusing. Four quarts make a gallon, but it takes 4.5 litres to make a gallon. So a litre is a bit smaller than a quart.

“How much for a pint of blueberries?” An old woman who was looking at him through a pair of thick glasses had asked the question.

“A buck,” he replied, “but they’re cheaper by the quart.”

His prices encouraged people to buy larger quantities. For example, one pint of blueberries cost $1.00, but a quart of blueberries was only $1.90. By buying a quart, his customers saved 10 cents.

“Are they pretty good?” she asked.

“Sweet and juicy,” said the farmer. He saw her lean closer to look at the berries. Then he realized that she could barely see.

“Here, try one,” he said.

After tasting one, she decided to buy a quart. She gave him a dollar bill and three quarters. The rest she paid in pennies. He put the bill in his wallet and the change in a tin.

Some people prefer to pick their own berries, so while he was selling produce in town, his wife stayed home. She put a sign out at the road that read, “U-Pick Strawberries and Blueberries.” Many people who came ate the berries while they picked, but the farmer’s wife didn’t mind. It was better for business to look generous than stingy. Besides, there were plenty of berries this year. If too few pickers came to pick, the berries would fall off the plants and get wasted anyway. If a picker heaped their quart basket to overflowing, the farmer’s wife smiled and let them have a good deal. Other pick-your-own farms would charge 25 cents extra for that.

At the end of the day, the farmer and his wife were a happy couple. They had done well that day and their customers were sure to come back for more.


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