|7 AM pickup at the park|
Last fall, I noticed a poster in a Tucson restaurant window which said they were a Bountiful Baskets pickup location. That was the first I’d heard of Bountiful Baskets (BB).
A friend mentioned that she and her daughter had tried them. The daughter is a big fan and volunteers frequently at her location in Flagstaff. My friend gave up on getting the baskets. The pickup time at her location came too early on a Saturday morning, and her husband is not very adventurous when it comes to produce.
Here’s how it works. You visit the website between noon on Monday and 10 PM on Tuesday. You find a location near you; they’re in 16 states at this point. Using a credit or debit card, you make your financial contribution to participate for the coming week. It’s better to do this sooner rather than later because locations can sell out. The standard basket is $15 for a mix of fruits and vegetables that would be $50 in a grocery store. I chose to upgrade to an organic basket for $25 and added on an organic bread basket for $10.
You don’t know what will be in the basket, and from reading the comments on the BB facebook page, I would say sometimes it isn’t known what’s in the basket even after it’s been picked up. I noticed a lot of people asking about celery root and heirloom tomatoes. “What are these things and how do I use them?”
While the selection will vary weekly, this is what I brought home this week:
- 4 heirloom tomatoes
- 3 mangos
- 5 small apples
- 1 enormous cauliflower
- 2 avocados
- 6 bananas
- 1 bulb fennel
- 3 zucchini
- 1 bundle of green onions
- 2 heads leaf lettuce
Our organic bread basket included:
- 3 loaves of 9 grain bread
- 1 loaf cranberry walnut bread
- 1 baguette
You have the chance to inspect (and reject if need be) the produce on site. Personally, I would enjoy finding a never before tried item in the basket and don’t mind at all planning a menu based on what’s in the box. In addition to the $35 I mentioned above, there is a one time $3 charge for new participants and a regular handling fee of $1.50. The pickup locations are all staffed by volunteers. This co-op idea is similar to a CSA co-op but without the shared risk and long term commitment. Have you tried something like this?
PS – I’ve just picked up my second Bountiful Basket. I went nuts shopping this week, spending $100. In addition to the organic basket for $25, I selected:
2 tropical add-ons – the description said we hope to have 2 vanilla beans, many fruits and ginger. As it turned out, there were no vanilla beans. The ginger root is a piece of 1 cubic inch, kind of a joke, but there is a nice selection of citrus, pineapple, mangoes, kiwi, and coconut.
2 half-gallon jars of coconut oil – this was a good buy for a huge container. Both our daughters in Tempe and Tucson use coconut oil, so I ordered two. The site manager was under the mistaken impression that I wanted olive oil, so she refused to accept it. They will issue a credit to my Bountiful Basket account, not my bank account, and it will take 4 weeks to appear. I’m a little miffed about this. If they had taken the coconut oil and it wasn’t what I wanted, I would still have to wait for a credit. I don’t see the risk in taking it since the order print-out said that I’d ordered 2 coconut oils, but as I said above, this is totally staffed by volunteers.
5 pack of tortillas – this is a 5 dozen assortment of corn and large and small flour tortillas.
A bag of granola – curious to see if this is as good as homemade.
Our organic box – this week includes, 5 oranges, 6 apples, 5 bananas 6 oz. blueberries, a head of garlic, Brussels sprouts, 3 pounds red potatoes, fennel, celery, broccoli, and a head of lettuce. Not bad for $25!