My wife recently stumbled upon a great way to save money on produce.
Bountiful Baskets Food Co-Op.
This is a volunteer driven operation that allows you to get fruits, vegetables, bread and more for great prices.
There are no employees, only volunteers! So you get rock bottom prices.
Volunteers organize the food pick-up sites and more volunteers help the site organizers sort the food.
So let me explain a little more about what Bountiful Baskets is…
What is Bountiful Baskets?
Simply put, they are a group of volunteers that put together a variety of baskets of food that you can contribute for (purchase).
I’ll let Bountiful Baskets Food Co-Op (BBFC) explain more about what they do…
BBFC is a group of people who work together for mutual benefit. This is a grassroots, all volunteer, no contracts, no catch co-operative. Since there are no employees at Bountiful Baskets, we as a group pay rock bottom prices on your food. This also means the co-op would not happen without volunteers.
*Taken from BountifulBaskets.org.
To take part in this, you order your basket(s) through their website and pick it up from one of their pick-up sites.
Right now there are pick-up sites in about half the states in the United States. You can view the locations here.
If your town doesn’t have a site, you can start one! It feels nice to volunteer, but if you need incentive, the site coordinator gets a free basket.
The Conventional Basket and the Cost
The first time you use BBFC, you will be charged a one-time $3 fee to purchase an actual basket to hold your food. You don’t take the basket with you, it stays at the site, but once you purchase it the first time, you don’t have that $3 fee again as long as you keep picking up from that site. Plus, there is a $1.50 processing fee for each order, no matter how large or small.
There is also a fuel surcharge to cover fuel for the truck driver. It varies by location, but it’s generally only a few bucks. Plus, you only pay one fee whether you order one basket or several. Head over to the “New Participant Page” to see the charge for your area.
You start with a conventional basket. It’s $15 or you can pay an extra $10 for a 100% Certified Organic basket. You can order up to 3 conventional baskets.
The conventional basket will be an assortment of fruits and vegetables.
It varies from week to week, according to their website, they base baskets on what is “in season, high quality, good value and local”.
Most sites have a trading table to swap the stuff you don’t eat for stuff you do eat.
As far as the quality of the produce, it’s been really great for the baskets my wife and I have bought. Just be sure to look through your basket before you leave the site. If some of your produce doesn’t look good, the site coordinator will replace it.
But, wait! There are more baskets!
There are additional add-on baskets. They vary from week to week, but here are some of the choices we have seen:
- Homemade sour dough bread
- 9-Grain wheat bread
- Mexican (tomatillos, jalapenos, tortilla chips, etc.)
So far, the add-on packs have been great. The homemade bread is awesome and I really loved the Mexican themed pack.
I wanted to give you my opinion of BBFC. If you didn’t notice, I love them!
For more information about them, check out their FAQ page.
If you are curious, go check out their website here. See when the ordering time is for your specific area. When the ordering comes available, you can view the different baskets being offered that week for your area.
You can always just order the $15 basket to try it out. If you like it, you can keep ordering them and even volunteer if you want. We had a lot of fun volunteering this week. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to order again, but I think you’ll like it.
Overall, I love this service because the food is high quality and you can save some money. Even if it wasn’t cheaper than the store, I like the fact that I can pay one total price online and go pick-up however many baskets I want in just a few minutes (not counting the volunteer time, of course). It beats fighting the grocery store!
Have you used Bountiful Baskets?
Or have you used a similar food co-op?
Share in the comments!
Photo Credit: Faith Goble