A few weeks ago at a class I was teaching I was told about this produce co-op called Bountiful Baskets. I decided I would look into it and see what it was all about. I purchased my first basket last week and WAS NOT disappointed!! I paid $19.50 for my first basket. This included a one-time fee of $3 for a first time basket (it covers the laundry baskets they sort the food in) and $1.50 for a handling fee. So, normally a "basket" is $15 (plus the $1.50 fee). It is not organic produce, so that is kind of a bummer, but I honestly have never been a huge "have-to" eat organic person. It is definitely a plus, but never really a must.
The "basket" I got this last week contained one laundry basket (the smaller round ones) of fruit and one of veggies. And there was A LOT of it. This is all of the stuff that I got in my basket:
I went onto Safeway's home delivery and priced out what all this would have cost. I realize that the home delivery prices for produce are average prices of items and that they tend to be a little bit higher than they are in the store (but not a huge difference). The cost of all of this would have been $46.95 had I gotten it from Safeway! So, I saved at least half (always my goal)!!
There are some major pros and some cons to this co-op. A pro is that it is super cheap! Another one is that it is "one-stop" shopping. Another nice thing is that you order it each week. So, if you have a ton left over from the previous week, you don't have to get a basket that week. A con is that there is a REALLY short window of time that you are able to go pick up your produce. Mine was from 10-10:20 (yes, only 20 minutes) on Saturday morning or they will donate the produce. Not the most convenient time. Another down fall is that you are not able to choose what is in your basket. It is just what they happen to purchase that week. Every thing that was in my basket on Saturday is stuff that we will definitely eat, so it wasn't a huge problem.
Bountiful Baskets is a co-op. This means that with the contributions from people who purchase baskets, they just buy a lot of produce straight from the warehouse at the price the stores are getting it for. That is why the baskets are so affordable. It is the exact same produce the grocery stores are getting (it isn't rotten or old or anything like that). If you choose to participate on a regular basis in this co-op, you will need to volunteer once every two months or so. This is how they are able to run the program.
To sign up for a basket, go here. There is some additional information on this page if you want to read more about it. Each week you can purchase a basket. You can "contribute" (which is how they word purchasing a basket) from noon on Monday to 10pm on Tuesday Mountain Time. You can only pay with a credit card (or a debit with a credit card logo on it) online at this time. It is not available EVERYWHERE, so make sure you check to see when and where they are in your area. There are some select area that carry organic (Eastern WA being one of them) baskets and those are $23 each.