For the last few years, we have talked about how much we love our produce co-op! It is a very smart way to go to save money on produce. We have also shared 30 Ways to Save Money On Produce. Well, on this list, being part of a co-op is the #1 way we save on produce.
We also shared our budget of $125 a week for a family of 7 (for all groceries, household and personal care items), but with the caveat of eating whole foods, organic, healthy foods and foods that meet our ingredient guidelines (no trans/saturated fats, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, enriched in the first 5 ingredients on anything – which makes for a short list of good foods).
So with all of that in mind, we use the co-op called Bountiful Baskets. They offer conventional baskets for $15, organic baskets for $25 and many additional offerings each week from organic breads, mexican or italian veggie packs, juicing packs, whole cases of fruits, etc. We actually budget $150 a month to Bountiful Baskets (approx. $37-$38 a week). Well, Bountiful Baskets started a while back in the area that we live in. We have been blessed to have this option for a while.
Well, the popularity has skyrocketed and they are all over the country – not in every state or area (but you can contact them to find out how to bring it to your area) but they span the United States map in some way. Most areas in the West and some in the Midwest and East.
How it works is that you order online what you want this week and then you pick-up your produce at the pickup location. For us that is parking lots of businesses early Saturday morning! You bring your own basket to pick up your share and it is generally in and out, but sometimes you do need to wait 20-30 minutes in line, depending on how busy that pick-up site is.
The only bad part is that you can only order starting Monday mid-morning and through Tuesday night. So it is about a 36-hour window. But, if they run out, then the window is even shorter. So I try to order on Monday as soon as it is posted so I have the most selection and options available. If you are a first-time participant, you will need to pay $3 – but that is one time and on your first order only! And you also don’t know what you will get – it is a surprise when you pick it up. But most of the time, we are more than pleased!
Here’s the ordering schedule:
So I ordered today and wanted to tell you about it since there are so many areas now included. Here’s what our order looked like:
Here’s the option for the organic basket for $10 more.
Here’s the extra pack I got this week. I most likely won’t use it for Fondue, but for steaming, cooking, juicing and eating raw!
Head to Bountiful Baskets HERE and choose your state and then a pick-up location closest to you from the drop-down menu.
Like I mentioned above, the extras do include organic bread packs, nuts, honey, oils – etc. It is different each week, but they do seem to have the bread ones nearly every week. We deal with peanut and tree nut allergies, so we haven’t ever gotten the bread pack before, but we would love to hear some of your experiences with it!
Finally, we have also posted this information before, but we wanted to keep posting it in these posts so that everyone reading can have some ideas on how to get involved with a produce coop:
First, our specific co-op is Bountiful Baskets and they are available in many states across the nation (mostly Western states). You can find information about Bountiful Baskets and if they are available in your area or contact them if they are not yet to find out how you can get it there.
Second, there are many produce co-ops and grocery co op groups and it’s various forms across the nation that you can join and be a part of. A good place to start looking is at a the site localharvest.org (which is going to help you get organic local food) or coopdirectory.org (I am not sure how updated this site is as our area’s listings were old and many not listed, but at least worth a shot!) or search produce co-op your state under google and see what listings come up.
And for some fun, here’s some pictures of past baskets that we have gotten!Most of the time it is the organic basket at $25 – but if they run out of organic before we can order, then we have gotten the conventional for $15.
This was an “extra” offering of the Mexican pack for $8.50
We have ordered probably close to 100 times, so this is just a glance at some of things we get each week!