Thursday, April 10, 2014

Bountiful Baskets

     A couple of weeks ago one of my friend's gave a presentation about Bountiful Baskets at my MOPs meetings.  Since moving from California where the most awesome produce is growing pretty much right in your backyard and having the option of visiting a Farmer's Market with fresh and local fruits, veggies, honey, nuts, etc. on any day of the week; I have been on the search of something, anything like that here in the dessert land.  I did check out the "Farmer's Market" that's held here on Saturdays downtown.  But I was so disappointed to find stand after stand after stand of dreamcatchers, pottery, baskets, rugs, candles, pretty much everything crafty.  Don't get me wrong, those people are amazing how they can weave so many baskets and make candles out of soy, but I WANT some food! Where is all the produce? Isn't a Farmer's Market suppose to have actual food from the farm?  Anyways....enough rant....the purpose of this post is actually to say YAY! It's the closest thing, I found, to a real Farmer's Market here...finally!

      If you haven't heard about Bountiful Baskets, here's a little information from their website (bountifulbaskets.org)

"Sally Stevens and Tanya Jolly started Bountiful Baskets Food Co-op in May of 2006. It was a winning combination from the beginning. Tanya and Sally both had experience running their own small food co-ops that were not web based. As their small co-ops grew it challenged them to think of a way to keep up as more families were wanting to save money on healthy food. Adding a little bit of e-commerce technology to the mix was just the trick. Since May of 2006 BBFC has grown from 2 sites and an average of 120 families a cycle participating, to hundreds of sites in 16 states and countless participating families! In April of 2011 BBFC started to offer 100% organic baskets every week at nearly every site.
The Co-op offers a conventional produce basket very other week which is generally ½ fruit and ½ veggies. The monetary contribution is $15.00 and is generally worth $50.00 retail. Organic baskets require a contribution of $25. To participate visit http://www.BountifulBaskets.org and check the schedule to see when your state is available to make your monitary contribution using a debit or credit card. Then, pick up your basket on Saturday morning at the time and place you chose when you contributed!"

     Since that MOPs meeting I was really curious as to how this all worked.  So that day I went on their website, and set my phone reminder to notify me to order my basket.  How it works, on Monday after 12pm, you go on their website, find your closest location, you can make a "contribution" (order) for your basket.  Once all the baskets are claimed that's it.  Hence, why I set my phone reminder.  That following Saturday is when you have to pick up your basket.  I was warned to definitely be there EARLY and with your OWN basket, since baskets with be distributed at 7:45am and if you aren't there to pick it up, it will get donated.  Also, the actual basket your goodies are in are just to hold them till you get there, you don't actually get those.  Printing out your receipt or having it saved on your smart phone is also a good idea, just in case they can't find you on their master pick up list. 

     So, on Monday, I made my contribution, printed my receipt, and got out my big picnic basket (hoping it will fit it all).  Saturday came, I was so excited.  Kind of silly to get excited about picking up a bunch of carrots and stuff.  But I was!  With basket and receipt in tow, I made sure to leave extra early since I didn't know exactly where the pick up site was.  I put the site address into the GPS and on I went.  As I'm driving I'm jamming to an awesome song and thinking "Yay, I'm gonna be early!"  Ummmm, yeah, so NOT the case.  I am driving up and down the street trying to find this place, pretty much checking the GPS every five seconds because I am RIGHT there according to the little red and white target dot, but I'm not.  Then I start looking for street signs and company signs, but nothing.  I glance at the time, oh man, it's 7:40am! I only have five minutes to get to this place.  And I'm thinking..."I don't want my basket to get donated, I need to find this place ASAP!" Finally, I spot a bunch of cars turning into a side street around the area the pick up site is suppose to be.  So I follow them with a hunch his might be it....and turns out it was!! Thank goodness!

     I park, grab my basket and walk up to this... (so glad I had a thick sweatshirt, it was cold that 
morning!)
     

Look at all those baskets and two of them are MINE!


 I wait patiently in line in the cold with the rest of my foodie friends!
I saw a few friends from MOPs and greeted them 
with my best early morning frozen face smile I could muster.



It took a little longer for the volunteers to stock the baskets, 
but once they started the line went quick and then it was my turn.
I gave the lady my name, I signed for my basket and another lady
showed me to my assigned basket, number 51.
There was one basket of fruit and one of veggies.



Here's my basket and it was overflowing with bountiful goodness!


When I got home, I spread out all my riches!
Fruits and veggies galore!


The hubby couldn't believe I got all this for only $20 
($15 for the basket, $3 for a 1st time basket (pay only once), and a $2.00 for handling)
With so much yummy stuff, now the question is...
what to make?


I will definitely be making more contributions in the future.  
So simple and inexpensive for such an amazing quality and 
quantity of fresh locally grown produce.
You should totally look into your own Bountiful Basket
they are worth it!


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