Exploring New Frugal Frontiers
This weekend my husband and I tried out Bountiful Baskets fruit and vegetable co-op for the very first time. I have been reading about it on other blogs, and wished there was a site near me. Oh, poor me! I never have anything this awesome and cool around where I live.
When I actually bothered to look into it, it turned out that I had two pick-up sites relatively close to me. Heh. You know what they say about “assume”.
My husband prepared himself for the event by wearing the appropriate T-shirt. He picked this because he is a dedicated carnivore, and also because he had his doubts about this whole business. But he is a nice husband who is always willing to go along with my schemes, and wants to participate just in case he has to be there to save me from disaster (an attitude, unfortunately, fostered by bitter, bitter experience). My hero in a bacon t-shirt!
Nobody seemed to mind the t-shirt, even the most veggie-loving vegans. That’s good, because I really believe in acceptance.
We volunteers waited for a bit, then a big truck pulled into the parking lot. It was filled with fruit and vegetables, as you might expect. We really hustled and got that truck unloaded, quick-like.
Next we sorted everything, fruits in one basket, vegetables in another, organic and special stuff off to one side.
Now here’s the really nice thing: when we were all done with this, the volunteers were allowed to pick up their own orders and leave. This is the first time in my history of volunteering where the volunteers where given priority over the “civilians”. That was nice.
A few more volunteers were still needed, though, to actually help hand out the goods to the buyers. My husband and I decided to stay on to do this. Steve and I helped with handing out the filled-up fruit and veggie baskets.
Don’t they look yummy?
These are the basic baskets, which are $15.00, plus a $1.50 processing fee, plus a $3.00 first-time only basket fee. So since this was our first time, we paid $19.50. Next time it will be $16.50.
Organic boxes are available for $25.00, organic and whole -grain breads, granola, cookies, and a couple of other things (which I’m not sure what they were because they were in boxes). I don’t remember what the “add-ons” cost. Since it was my first time I just went with the basic basket. Plus, I am cheap, so I decided to not spring for the organic stuff.
Here it is Monday morning and we have had a chance to make a dent in our veggie and fruit hoard. For two people it is quite a bit. We have had some of the pears, oranges, broccoli, cauliflower, and one sweet potato. Everything has been uniformly delicious. Still to enjoy are asparagus, romain lettuce, cherry tomatoes, grapefruit and tangerines, and probably other stuff I forgot.
This experience is for the veggie adventurous, because you don’t know ahead of time exactly what you will get, except that it will be fresh and in-season. This is okay with me because I can’t really think of a veggie I don’t like. Plus, as a Big Lazy I don’t do long-range menu planning, so this spontaneous way of buying produce fits in great with my way of cooking (which is: early in the day I think about what I have on hand then decide what will be for dinner, very often cooked in the slow cooker or solar cooker, if the weather is right. The earlier I get dinner taken care of, the happier this Big Lazy is!).
The volunteer experience was fun, too. I’ll be doing it again. Everything went pretty smoothly, considering most of the people there were newbies. We had a fearless leader who was really on the ball. The truck was a teensy bit late, but we had that sucker unloaded in no time.
If you have a flexible schedule, a laid-back nature (which, if you love fruits and veggies, you probably do), and most importantly of all, a Bountiful Baskets pick-up site near you, I highly recommend it.
Come to think of it, though, maybe I should have re-thought the “Bass Pro Shop” t-shirt. Well, I like the color.
And P.S. my husband thought it was a good experience, likes the stuff, and wants to do it again! Phew!