Monday, October 17, 2011

Bountiful Baskets: Great for the Budget


For about a month now, I've heard about this food co-op called Bountiful Baskets from Jacki. For those of you who don't know her, well, you are missing out. She's an amazing resource for all things that are good. Well, to me, any way. She's a real salt of the earth kinda gal. She knows her stuff about sewing, cooking, canning, gifting, running, food, pretty much all that kind of stuff that I think was normally passed down from generation to generation, but somehow some of it was lost for me along the way. She's helped to reinforce things I had learned and has taught me so much along the way.

Anyway, when she mentioned Bountiful Baskets, I had to do further research. When I went out to the website, I can honestly say I was simultaneously overwhelmed and unimpressed. What? How? Well, there's not a whole lot of photos and there's a whole bunch of text. I was going to have to sign up to fill out a form too. bleh! Well, I missed that initial offering. And then Jacki posted a photo of all of the stuff she had gotten. To further rub my nose in it, she posted some pretty amazing looking recipes of her haul, which had me drooling. All of that sexy looking produce, all delicious, all packed a PUNCH! KA-POW...suck on that non-wholesome/chemically laced foods!

So I went out to the site again and bombarded poor Jacki with ridiculous questions. To which, she had the patience to deal with me for a bit and kept posting the link back to their site. I know she was probably thinking, "For the love of God, Bianca, this isn't complicated. read the damn site!!" But she was very cordial and helpful! I signed up, I read, re-read, then read aloud to Don everything I thought was important. We huddled over the computer trying to decide which basket to buy. Organic, non-organic...do we do add-ons? Hmmm...We ended up going with 1 organic basket (basket=$15+organic=$10...$25 total for organic basket) and added on 2 pumpkins, which were described as smaller than a basketball ($3.25 each). We figured if they weren't large enough to carve, we could get cheaper ones later.

Since this was our first time to participate, we had to pay a $3 first time fee. Each time you participate, there is a $1.50 processing fee. Knowing that there didn't have to be further commitment, we thought $36 was ok to invest. To further complicate things, we were out of town, so instead of picking up where we would normally pick-up, we decided to do pick-up in Lubbock. Not only were were buying for the first time, but we were also going to be traveling with these foods. Luckily, they have a food storage guide, so we used that to go on. We took 3 re-usable shopping bags, and showed up 10 minutes before pick-up time (you can arrive an hour early to volunteer. I may do that another time.). We were 15th in line with a longer line snaking after us and others continued to arrive after we left. This is what we received:

Organic Basket (filled 2 of our shopping bags)

  • 1 bunch of chard
  • 6 bananas
  • 6 plums
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 2 zucchini
  • 2 avocados
  • 2 apples
  • 4 pears
  • 2 acorn squash
  • 1 basket of concord grapes
  • 1 basket of kiwi berries
  • 3 romaine hearts lettuce

Add-on: 2 large pumpkins, one was the size of a basketball, the other one was larger!

Oh my, was a haul!! I've never even had kiwi berries, nor have I prepared chard on my own. I'm guessing it is chard because I don't know what it is. I am going to be using this recipe and I want to try out this acorn squash bisque recipe, too! Can I just say that meal planning has been amped up 5 notches. I'm beyond thrilled and excited to be cooking. Plus, my Everyday Food magazine actually features many of the foods I received (they are in season, after all), so I can use a whole lot of those recipes in there too.

If you have a Bountiful Baskets offering in your area, I would highly recommend you check them out! I calculated everything that we received and compared it to what we could have paid in the grocery store and honestly, we saved about $5, but hey, that's an overpriced coffee right there. Knowing most of the foods are more local, and that I have a boost in my meal planning (after all, I don't have to think as much, I just have to figure out what to make with what I have instead of deciding what to buy AND what to make). Go for it and enjoy!

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