Saturday, June 5, 2010

What is a food co-op?

I want to eat healthy but produce is expensive, especially when you live in the desert!  I heard about a produce co-op that was adding a location near my house and decided to give it a try. Food co-ops allow individuals to group together and buy food at a lower price.  The co-op I tried for the first time today is Bountiful Baskets Food Co-Op. You order once a week (for me it's on Tuesday/Wednesday) and then pick it up at a location near your home a few days later (for me Saturday at 7:45 am at a local park).  In addition to produce you can also sometimes purchase other food items like breads and cakes.  Since this was my first time making a contribution as it is called I decided to just purchase a conventional basket.  This particular co-op offers both convention and 100% certified organic.  So what do you get?

This is what I got in today's basket.  I was very excited. The cost was $15 contribution for the conventional basket, $3 for new member and $1.50 handling fee.  So for a total of $19.50 I got all this produce. What exactly was in the basket? Here's the full list:

  • 6 Bananas

  • 6 Ears of Corn

  • 1 Romaine Lettuce

  • 6 Apples

  • 3 Tomatoes

  • 3 Red Bell Peppers

  • 1 Honeydew Melon

  • 6 Peaches

  • 7 Potatoes

  • 12 Bok Choy
The produce was in good condition for the most part.  The lettuce and bok choy are gorgeous.  The peaches were a little worse for wear. I'm guessing the transfer between the baskets and my bag didn't help the very ripe fruit.  It just meant that we ate the peaches this morning which my boys didn't mind at all!

So now the challenge is to find a good recipe to use the bok choy.  One of the unique aspects of a co-op is that you do not have a choice regarding the items you receive.  That means that some weeks you may end up with an item that is new to your family or something you normally don't make a home.  I've decided this is going to be a challenge. Each week I want to discover a new recipe using something from my produce co-op basket. So now the hunt is on for a good bok choy recipe. If you have one please share!  I do know exactly what I am going to do with the corn - elote! I will post that recipe soon.

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