Contrary to popular belief, I do eat at home for the majority of my meals.
I’ve been trying to eat healthier and with the rising cost of produce I started looking for a way to keep my wallet happy and my fridge full. Through my research I came across a national non-profit food co-op organization, Bountiful Baskets, that happened to have several local branches near UTD.
To get a basket, you have to buy one through the Bountiful Baskets website Monday of the week you want one. There’re two basic choices, a convention basket for $15 or an organic basket for $25. According to the organization, you’ll save an average of $35 per basket compared to in-store prices.
There are also add-ons like 20 pounds of oranges or 30 potatoes, so if you have a use for them go ahead and throw that in your check-out cart too. They then pool the money to buy produce in bulk and on the weekend (specific day and time depends on your pick-up location) you get your share of the haul, typically consisting of at least 6 vegetables and 6 fruits.
So far, I’ve loved my baskets. I didn’t really know what to expect as I don’t personally know anyone else who has gotten it before.
While I can’t testify to the accuracy of their $35 savings claim, I do know it has saved me a good amount of money that I can now put towards other expenses. I’m not only eating healthier but it’s also forcing me to get creative with my cooking as you don’t know ahead of time what will be in your basket.
My first one contained blood oranges, apples, grapefruit, a coconut, potatoes, lettuce, cauliflower, zucchini, and radishes. All were fresh, and there were multiple of most so it was easy to mainly eat off of the supply during the week with minimal grocery store additions.
The downsides are few, but should be kept in mind when considering whether to buy one.
First off, the pick up times are early. Painfully early.
I got mine at a Plano location based in the parking lot of an elementary school, and had to pick it up between 7 and 8 a.m. on Saturday. Ouch.
If you miss that window, there are no refunds and your basket will be donated to a homeless shelter.
Next, if you don’t eat a lot or cook a lot, this may not be for you. Living alone I don’t have roommates to help me finish leftovers off so there are still some lingering items a week or two later. Personally I know I can’t use enough produce to justify one every week, so I’ve started ordering every 2 weeks to minimize the waste. Judging by the amount of mini-vans in the pickup lot, the main buyers seem to be families with multiple mouths to feed who are buying baskets plus 15 pounds of apples to do so.
If you’re looking for a cheap way to improve your eating habits, I would definitely check it out.
The worst thing that could happen is you try fruits and veggies you normally wouldn’t touch, so head on over to bountifulbaskets.org to get your first basket and let me know via the comments what you think! I hope to see some of y’all in line with me bright and early on Saturdays.