Have you heard of Bountiful Baskets? Is it available in your area? Not sure? Check it out:
Bountiful Baskets Food Co-op (BBFC) distributes produce baskets, organic produce baskets, breads and other products weekly. 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, as a group they pay rock bottom prices on your food. (You pay $15 for a regular basket and $25 for organic, for approx $50 worth of food. It is super fresh, fairly locally grown (meaning California instead of Ecuador, etc).
The co-op would not happen without volunteers. Volunteer opportunities include helping prepare the baskets, breaking down boxes, assisting with the distribution, and packing up. If you are interested, check the website for local site, order your basket, and then to help out simply arrive an hour early dressed and ready to work with water to drink.
I've been receiving Bountiful Baskets since they first entered out market in April of 2010. A friend of mine told me about this food co-op which is volunteer run, and suggested I get involved. Soon after in May she started a site closer to our homes. I've been to help sort the fruits and veggies which is a lot of fun.
I have been very happy with the variety of fruits and veggies I've received, and I like that it is a different mix each week. Its a fun challenge for me to try new foods and recipes in order to use all the food by the next week!
I haven't taken a pic of any of my baskets to date but a friend of mine wrote me and told me what she received last week (I actually skipped this last one)
" 6 ears of corn, 1 broccoli, 5 onions, 4 large tomatoes, 2 of the biggest cucumber I've ever seen, romaine lettuce, 1 bag of gala apples, 1 bag of purple grapes(2lbs), 2 mangoes, 6 peaches, 6 plums, 6 other apples, 2 of the largest bananas I've ever seen! "
Make sure you order each week before the deadline (ours is wednesday night by 10pm) though the earlier the better because each site has a set number of baskets available and the food has to be ordered for each site each week. There is a time frame usually of tuesday to wednesday to order. There is also a pickup window of time. Because is it volunteer run nobody wants to sit around at the park all day for you, so 20 min after the pickup time if you haven't showed, the local firehouse benefits from your loss! I've never seen that happen though, because usually people are pretty prompt.
Check out the beautiful pics of what Karina from Bunches and Bits did with her basket full of fruits & veggies! I'm gonna have to try some of these recipes!