Saturday, June 8, 2013

Bountiful Baskets: My Basket Runneth Over

While I was visiting a friend last weekend, she showed me her Bountiful Baskets grub and I was jealous intrigued! What? Large amounts of fruits and vegetables for a low cost? What could be better than that?

Bountiful Baskets is a food co-op, which means that a community pulls their money together to contribute to fruit and vegetable purchases. It is a not-for-profit and strictly volunteer run. The money you contribute goes directly to the purchase of the food. They say on the site that $15 buys you about $50 worth of fruits and vegetables at retail. As part of the co-operative they ask that you volunteer your time preparing the baskets for a couple of hours on Saturday mornings once out of every seven baskets you order.

Last week on Monday, as soon the co-op offers were available online, I made my contribution for $15 for the 50% fruit, 50% vegetable basket. They also offer an all organic basket for $10 more and they have plenty of add ons.

Early Saturday morning, I went to the pick-up location with my contribution confirmation (say that 5 times fast) and walked away with a butt basket load of fruits and veggies.

At the pick-up location. Baskets ready for pick up.
My baskets: 50% fruit 50% vegetable (and my shoe).
I transferred them into my own laundry basket to carry home. Man, that thing was heavy!

I think that I love that you don't know what you are going to get in your basket until you pick it up. If gives you the opportunity to experience new foods and try things you might not traditionally buy. But don't worry, there were plenty of traditional foods too. In my basket I received the following items, but it will change each week (that is the best part).

bananas
grapes
black plums
blueberries
strawberries
red peppers
tomatoes
green chili peppers (these things are huge!)
lettuce
fennel (yeah, I had to Google it too)
sweet potatoes

My basket runneth over

The basket was so heavy, I could barely carry it back to my car. I am not exaggerating, but maybe I am just weak. I honestly think in the future I will split a basket with a neighbor since there is so much food, I am not sure Hubby and I can eat it all before it spoils.

My next challenge is to do some meal planning so I can come up with some recipes to get good use out of all this food. What did I ever do without Pinterest?

In the end I paid:
$15 for a conventional basket.
$3 first time basket fee (this is used to buy a basket to sort food at the location. It stays there for your future orders).
$1.50 credit card fee.

Total first time cost: $19.50. Next time it will only be $16.50 since I already paid the first time basket fee. I feel like this is an incredible bargain for all these fruits and vegetables!

Tips for Bountiful Baskets:

  1. Check out the New Participant information on the website.
  2. Sign up early, baskets can sell out quickly in your county.
  3. Bring your contribution confirmation to the site (and practice saying it).
  4. Bring a basket or reusable bags (and your strong muscles) to carry home your vegetables from the co-op site.
  5. Consider volunteering. Co-ops only can function and survive with active volunteers. 
I live in Texas but Bountiful Baskets are available in many other states. What do you think? Do you co-op?





19 comments :

  1. A food coop sounds similar to a CSA which I love! I just posted vegetable grilling recipes that would be great for your bounty :)

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  2. What a great haul! I belong to a CSA where we primarily get veggies but a food co-op sounds fabulous too!

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  3. I adore Bountiful Baskets, I have been doing it for quite awhile now, love all the add ons and the surprise of seeing what will be in it each week, it has made me try a lot of new things! The fennel is yum!

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    1. I have no idea what do with the fennel! I need to find a recipe! Any suggestions?

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  4. So jealous! I wa participating in one through work but they stopped it. I sure do miss it! I wish they had this in my city but they do not. I'll have to find one similar.

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  5. I ♥ Bountiful Baskets for all the reasons you listed. I just tried it for the first time a couple weeks ago, and I'm totally hooked. We didn't get one this week, though, because we couldn't make the pick-up (went scuba diving instead), and I'm already missing the fridge full of deliciousness. I was concerned that it would be too much for my husband and me as well, but so far so good.

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  6. I did Bountiful Baskets a lot last year! I stopped for a while since I was getting a ton of lettuce and celery (I am so bad about washing lettuce and we don't eat celery much). Bountiful Baskets is a great deal especially when they give you stuff like cherries and apricots...LOVE those! I had fun volunteering with them, too. The bread is yummy, too ;)

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  7. Those bell peppers look FABULOUS!!!! :)

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  8. Awesome! We had the best CSA in Ithaca, and never found one here. Now that we're moving again, I'm determined to get connected with a local farm- there is nothing better than freshly picked produce!

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  9. This is really cool. I haven't heard of it before!!!

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  10. I just heard about a local co-op here in Tampa and can't wait to try it - awesome idea and haul!

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  11. This is really cool! There was something like this where I lived before I moved, but I never took advantage of it. It might have cost a bit more, but the food was delivered.

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  12. This is SO awesome! Super sad that NY isn't on the list though. :-(

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  13. what a great an innovative idea! really cool

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  14. DEFINITELY looking into that. I missed out on a CSA locally this spring (distracted because of baby & broken elbow, understandable, but still sad.) Thank you for the info!

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  15. Your basket looks terrific. I belong to a CSA and I love it. How can you go wrong with fresh and local produce?

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  16. That is awesome, I've never looked into a co-op before. I should check this out!

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  17. Bountiful Baskets is AWESOME! I really miss it from when I lived in Arizona. Hopefully we'll have a site opening here in Alabama soon and I'll be able to get my fresh yumminess again!!

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