Saturday, January 21, 2012

Bountiful Baskets -all you wanted to know (and more)

I recently joined this co-op after finally giving in to the curiosity at the urging of many friends and family members.

So what is Bountiful Baskets? It's a co-op run by volunteers that makes produce available at about 1/2 the price of what you would regularly pay for that quantity.

I got my first basket 2 weeks ago and I was impressed right away! My first basket had 2 bags of grapes, 5 clementines, a bunch of apples, bananas, a couple of pears, a thing of blackberries, 2 heads of romaine, 1 head of spinach, 3 avocados, 1 bunch of radishes, 3 heads of broccoli (can't spell), 3 English cucumbers, and 3 or 4 tomatoes.

I had surgery last week so I didn't order a basket.
This is what my basket looked like this week:
It includes, 1 head of red leaf lettuce, 1 bunch (3 head) of broccoli, 1 head of cauliflower, 5 ears of corn, 8 bananas, 5 tomatoes, 6 pears, 5 kiwi, 2 pomegranates, 4 oranges, a bunch of brussel sprouts, and a 1 bag of apples.

The cost is $15 + $1.50 fee for something = $16.50 total. If it is your first time, count on paying $19.50 because there is a 1 time charge for the sorting baskets that they will use for you. The baskets stay there though and you will need to bring your own container(s) to get your stuff home.

Here are some pros and cons for you to consider:

  •  affordable
  •  variety
  •  large quantity
  •  good quality
  •  Supports local business and small farmers for exotic items
  •  Adventurous- You never know what you're going to get! You don't want it to go to waste and it is a good way to try new things that you normally wouldn't pick out :-)
  •  a good volunteer opportunity
  •  It's fast, you go in your PJs and you pick out your baskets and you leave
  •  My site is really well organised, they have a good system and it flows nicely
  •  these things are everywhere! (at least in Idaho this is true)
  •  You don't choose the produce- it is chosen for you and you never know what you're going to get
  •  You have a small time frame (20 minutes from the posted time) to pick it up or else you lose it and there are no refunds.
  • The small time frame for me is really early in the morning on a Saturday (usually about 6:30)
  • they like you to volunteer at least once every couple of months which is an hour earlier than my really early pick-up time.
As you can see, several of my pros can also be cons. once in a while because of the preferences of my kidos I do need to supplement my baskets with some store bought produce. Usually it isn't much; a bag of apples or a bunch of bananas or some recipe specific veggies.
I have a couple of recommendations that you might find helpful:
  • Find your local site on facebook if possible- My pick up time on the BB website is 7am but because I am in the local facebook group I know that my people are REALLY fast and I will get the best choice of baskets if I go at 6:30 because they are usually ready at 6:30 rather than 7.
  • The early bird gets the worm!- You get to pick your basket and if you go early you have a lot of control over quality. PLUS all the baskets have at least the same amount of fruits and veggies but the extras get distributed as evenly as possible among that baskets so you can pick a basket that might have more of 1 thing that you like. For example, on my first week there was only 1 bag of grapes in the baskets but I got there early and I know my kids like grapes so I picked a basket with 2 bags since there were extras that week. There were baskets with extra lettuce and other stuff too. They really do try to dole out the extras evenly but every basket is different.
  • If there is a delay in delivery or weather issues I know (through facebook) before it's posted on the main site.
  • read all of the directions and play around on the main website thoroughly before you join up so that you aren't confused. It's a really easy process but there is a lot to learn at first.
  • DO volunteer! If you can, you should volunteer. Not only are you helping out and getting a work out you get first pick from the baskets, first pick from the extras, and if someone doesn't pick up their basket you get more stuff. It pays to volunteer.
I'm actually not a huge lover of a variety of fruits and veggies, I know what I like and I don't really like to explore too far out of my comfort zone. But we really want our kids to try new things constantly and we want them to like more fresh healthy foods than we do and so this is a great way for us to explore as a family and set a good example for our children. It really forces us to step out of the box and try new things. It feels really nice to have to get creative in order to use all of our produce and I actually look forward to new recipes. I'm forced to follow through on all those good intentioned copied recipes that I have in my stash and I like it!

You can get more info and sign up at

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