Immediately after taking this picture, I picked up the container of figs and transported them to our closest garbage can. Why? Was it because Cassie made some amazing fig pastries last week with cinnamon and sugar (the only inedible part of the pastries were the figs)? No. It was because they were rotten. The bottom of the plastic carton was oozing that liquid-like sludge that can only be understood by picking up multi-week old, forgotten vegetables from the bottom of your crisper. How that fig container even made it into our basket this week is a mystery to me.
Our fig example should help you decide whether a product basket from your local co-op is a good financial decision. We’re not saying its not. We are saying that the last few week’s we haven’t been very impressed with the quality, especially when we consider that our local farmers’ markets are full of produce at a cheaper cost and higher quality. We were warned by some of you that this time of year the co-ops struggle a bit with quality for the money especially when compared to the local produce as I just mentioned. And we have warned you in the past, that even if the figs were top-notch quality, sometimes the selection of produce (take figs for example…<shudder>) may not match your family’s options you would normally purchase from the store.
We thought it would be fun to put our money where our mouth is and try a couple of different options over the next few weeks. We are going to take this $15 and see just how far our local grocery store will take us next week. And then in future week’s we will try some other options as well. The goal is to compare what we can get from these other options (at least during this season – we love our co-op otherwise) and compare who might have the better value plus find the benefits and downfalls of the different options. Plus, if you have some examples of your own (whether co-op, store bought, or local produce) feel free to email us with a picture or just leave a comment. We would love to get as much data over the new few weeks as we seek to find the best value for our dollars in purchasing produce!
With all that said, here’s the list of produce we received this week:
- 1 bunch green (yet somehow partially rotten) bananas
- 5 small cucumbers
- 5 apples
- 4 bartlett pears
- 2 asian pears
- 1 bag green grapes
- 8 assorted sized sweet potatoes
- 5 plums
- 3 avocados
- 1 head broccoli
- 5 rotten figs
- 3 onions
With all of the above, although the avocados were a nice addition, between the figs and bananas, we believe we actually lost money on this basket. We would love to get some feedback from you as well whether your co-op offerings (or other alternatives) have been a great quality and worth your money!
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:
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.