Before I get started with this post, I just wanted to state that I'm not getting compensated in any way for writing this little blurb about Bountiful Baskets. I am just a huge fan and wanted to pass on some useful info to you, my lovely readers. :-)
What is Bountiful Baskets? The website describes it as this:
About Bountiful Baskets Co-opBountiful Baskets is not a business. It is a group of people who work together for mutual benefit.Bountiful Baskets Food Co-op is constantly growing to reach new areas as people want to have a site close to their home. They train with an existing Volunteer Site Coordinator and then go open the new site. We run at least every two weeks at each site. Some sites run weekly. We are completely volunteer-run and make no profit. Please see our locations page for a complete listing of current sites as well as which week they run.This is a Co-opThis is a grass roots, all volunteer, no contracts, no catch co-operative. Without volunteers this co-op wouldn’t happen, so you will need to help as you are able. There are many opportunities to help!
So basically what happens is that I log into my Bountiful Baskets account at 10AM on Monday morning and put $15 towards a basket of fruit and veggies. I look for things that I may add on to my basket as well. This time around I opted for the "Harvest Pack add-on" for an additional $16.
The following Saturday morning at 7AM, I am standing in line with an empty laundry basket with around 50 other people. One at a time we show our contribution numbers, initial a box, and are led to our produce by volunteers. I load up my laundry basket and haul it back to my car. That's it!
Sometimes on Saturday mornings, I show up at 5AM and volunteer to unload the truck and distribute the produce. It's fun to meet new people, exchange recipes, and get a little exercise. I'm pooped by the end of the day, but it's always worth it.
You never really know what you're going get in your basket. And that's part of the fun for me. I ended up with a ton of grapes and was fearful that they would go bad before we could eat them. But having two grape-loving kids with grape-loving friends really helped, and there was no waste. The fruit not eaten is usually dehydrated to use as snacks or added to oatmeal at breakfast. Sometimes I make a batch of jelly. The grapes would have made a nice jelly if the kids hadn't devoured them.
The Seckel pears were new to me. Those tiny little things were so sweet and juicy though--perfect for snacks and lunchboxes. In previous baskets I've ended up with 9 onions, or 2 stalks of celery--way more than we could ever eat. I simply freeze or dehydrate what I can't use right away and it all works out. the only thing that doesn't work well with is lettuce. I prefer spinach and romaine for my salads and the leaf lettuce I get from Bountiful Baskets is hard to use up. But you can't get everything you want, right?
From this basket, I made a huge batch of potato soup that we enjoyed for a few days. Then, I divided up the leftovers into meal-sized portions and froze them for future dinners. I love to cook, but not every night. Some nights, it's nice to simply thaw out dinner in the microwave and serve it with toast.
I love the Harvest Pack add-on I received! Though for once I didn't have a recipe already planned for it. I made a nice little fall-themed display in my living room. The larger pie pumpkins will be Thanksgiving pies, but that's not for another month. In the meantime, they can look pretty on my table.
I know I have a number of readers from outside the US, so I'm sure you don't have a Bountiful Baskets near you. Perhaps you have something else though? Have any of you any experience with food co-op?
If you are in the US and want to find out if there is Bountiful Baskets pick-up near you go HERE. If you don't have one near you, you could always start your own by looking at the info HERE.
Happy Harvest and bug hugs from Montana,