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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Bountiful Baskets

Today was our first time participating in Bountiful Baskets. If you haven't heard of Bountiful Baskets it is an organization started by 2 women to provide low cost fresh produce in a form of a co-op. You place your order at the website, and then pick it up the following Saturday. The website has a list of the different offerings you can get, from the regular basket that runs about 16.50 (includes the cost of handling), to bread, organic foods and other specials they can get. I had known about this for at least a year but the pick up times always held me back. Also since I'm a low carber I worried about the fruit and starchy food, after all would I use what I get.

I decided to try it this week and I thought I would give my review.

Our time was set to be there at 7:15, you have a 20 minutes window to pick up your produce or you will loose it. We arrived shortly after 7am and a line was already forming. It is a good thing to get there early if you don't want to wait. They could have had a better system for forming lines because they eventually split you into two lines according to last name. If you could start out that way it would cause less confusion. They need something to designate the two lines right off.

They needed more volunteers. After watching many ladies in line went to help and if they hadn't it may have taken another 2o minutes to get ready. As it was they didn't start handing out the food until 7:35. Michael and I decided that it would be worth it to volunteer and since he is a morning person he will probably be the one to do it.

The sort all the food into baskets, one for fruit and one for vegetables. If it is your first time you pay a 3.00 start up fee to buy baskets so they can get up with demand. Since it is two baskets not a bad price. They keep the baskets, you bring bags or your out basket to take home.

We got the following in the baskets.

1 package small tomatoes, (some were green and some were ripe. I wouldn't buy it in the store looking like that but to sit on the counter they will be okay)
1 beautiful large head of leaf lettuce. You can find lettuce this size in the store, at least I have never seen one.
2 english cucumbers. One was damaged, we will have to eat it quickly. Again in the store I would not have bought but looked for one that was not damaged so badly.
1. bag of green beans, I have never seen green beans like this in the store, they looked fresh picked. Not one old or dehydrated.
1 bunch celery
several thin white yams/sweet potatoes. They look like they would be yummy sliced, with olive oil and salt and pepper and grilled.
1. package strawberries
3 mangoes One so ripe I had to cut it right away
1 small cantaloupe
5 or 6 peaches that need ripening
one bunch of bananas, plus one extra. They split up the extra bunches. This one the top was completely removed so it had to be eaten right away.
4 or 5 plums.

For the most part I can't complain. I think the few blemishes are bound to happen from time to time when you can't pick your own food. One thing I did notice was a volunteer just tossing fruit into baskets and not placing them in. Not a great way to handle fresh produce. I think that would be my biggest complaint of the whole process. It was only one volunteer that was doing it and I am glad I didn't get a basket she filled.

All it all I think we would do it again. For less that 20.0o we got a nice batch of fresh produce.

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