So I picked up my Bountiful Baskets Food Co-Op share this morning. If you’re not familiar with a food co-op, a co-op is a group of people who pool their money in order to purchase foods at wholesale prices directly from the distributor. You get the same quality food that you would find in grocery stores or restaurants but you cut out the middle man and save money! At the beginning of the week (or the month depending on the co-op) you place your order and pay your money, then at the end of the week (or the month depending on the co-op) you pick up your food. Some co-ops also offer organic shares in addition to the regular, non-organic share.
Part of the “fun” is that you don’t know what you’re getting until you pick up your share, so many weeks we get to try new foods. This is one of those weeks. In addition to the sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, cabbage, yellow squash, bananas, strawberries, cantaloupe, mangos, and apples, there were forelle pears and Jerusalem artichokes! (All for only $15 I might add!)
According to the Bountiful Baskets FaceBook page, forelle pears taste like regular pears only MUCH sweeter! I wonder if they’re supposed to be crunchy or soft? I’ll have to do some checking on line. And the Jerusalem artichokes are a root vegetable that can be eaten raw added to salads and salsas or included in soups and stews! When I first saw them I was so excited because I thought it was ginger (more ginger ale :)), but the co-op volunteer told me it was Jerusalem artichoke. I’m looking forward to using them and seeing how they taste.
When you place your food co-op order, most co-ops offer “add-ons” that you can purchase in addition to your standard share. The add-ons vary with every order but include WONDERFUL breads and cases of fruits or vegetables. These come in handy for freezing or canning, but many weeks our add-on doesn’t last long enough to make it to the freezer. 🙂 This week, I purchased a case of organic mangos for $7.50! We LOVE mangos and these didn’t disappoint. I sliced one up to have for breakfast and it was perfect with my vanilla kefir (I’ll share the recipe later) and toasted 9-grain bread (I’ll share that recipe later too).
Food Co-Ops operate all over the country. You’ll find information on the two local co-ops on the Health & Wellness pages of my web-site. Both of them have pick up sites throughout Utah.
One of my previous posts talked about CSAs or Farmers Co-Ops. There are a few difference between a CSA and a Co-Op:
- Co-Ops usually purchase food regionally where as CSAs are all local farmers.
- With a CSA the food is picked that morning and delivered that afternoon – so you know it’s FRESH!
- Some CSAs sell their produce to stores, but most of them sell their produce at Farmer’s Markets.
- With a CSA, instead of purchasing your share every week, you purchase your share at the beginning of the season and then get produce delivered throughout the season. The upfront cost is a little more, but broken down over the season the price ends up being about the same per week as the Co-Op.
I LOVE CSA’s because of the freshness of the produce and because I know I’m supporting local farmers and the local economy. You’ll find information on local CSAs in the Health & Wellness pages of my web-site too.