This weekend, I had the pleasure of participating in Bountiful Baskets! I love this concept – it’s a food co-op where people get together and buy produce and other grocery items directly from produce vendors, so you save a TON of money.
“The Co-op offers a conventional produce basket very other week which is generally ½ fruit and ½ veggies. The monetary contribution is $15.00 and is generally worth $50.00 retail. Organic baskets require a contribution of $25. To participate visit http://www.BountifulBaskets.org and check the schedule to see when your state is available to make your monitary contribution using a debit or credit card. Then, pick up your basket on Saturday morning at the time and place you chose when you contributed!” – BountifulBaskets.org
Volunteering is an important part of the process, since it helps keep costs to a minimum. They ask that you show up an hour early to help sort produce baskets at least every 4-6 weeks if you’re able. It actually looked like the folks at my pickup site were enjoying themselves, so I’m looking forward to pitching in!
The simplicity of the whole operation is genius. On Monday last week, I went online and made my “contribution” and then on Saturday went to the pick-up site to get my produce!
For $15 (+$1.50 processing fee, +$3.00 one-time basket purchase), I got all of the following:
- 1 head Bok Choy
- 2 heads Green Leaf Lettuce
- 6 Radishes
- 1 Garlic Bulb
- 1 bunch Asparagus (about 25 stalks)
- 1 bunch Celery
- 2 Green Bell Peppers
- 4 Lemons
- 4 Mangos
- 7 Bananas
- 1 package Strawberries
That’s A LOT of food for $16.50!! I am very happy with the price and assortment of produce, but I think the best part is the freshness of everything. I hate going to the grocery store, and not knowing for sure how long the produce has been sitting on the shelves. The worst part is buying something that spoils in the next day or two.
To me, the most intimidating aspect of the whole Bountiful Baskets thing is that you don’t have any control over what kinds of produce you’ll get. However, I think that it’s also one of the benefits. I have a bunch of bok choy and radishes sitting in my fridge that will need to be eaten (I HATE wasting good food!), so I’m compelled to go online in search of recipes. In fact, Bountiful Baskets has a blog where they post recipes and produce tips regularly. This is actually where I found my Cucumber & Radish Salad recipe!
So what about you? Have you ever participated in something like this? Do you have any unusual (& delicious) recipes to share?