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Front Page » April 27, 2010 » Emery County News » Bountiful baskets
Published 1,640 days ago

Bountiful baskets


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By PATSY STODDARD
Editor

The Bountiful Baskets Co-op has been started in Emery County. The first vegetable and fruit pickup took place on April 17 in Ferron. For now the pick-up dates will be every other Saturday. Angela McMillan has started the service with the help of her husband Eli. The purchasing of the baskets takes place over the internet so no monies are exchanged on the day of the food delivery. The semi-truck pulls up to the site and unloads the fruits and vegetables. The volunteers gather and arrange the produce into the individual baskets to have them ready when the people arrive to pick up their basket. Participants bring their own box or basket to transport their vegetables and fruit home. This cooperative effort results in fresher produce for the consumer.

Each basket contains the same amount of fruits and vegetables. On this day bread was also available with the baskets. The bread comes in five loaf packets and is $2 per loaf.

Angela has friends and family in Cedar City and also in Phoenix who were participating in the program. She thought, "Why not here in Ferron." So she began the steps to make the produce delivery a reality for Emery County.

"It's fresher than what you will find in the store. The produce hasn't spent any time on the shelf. It comes directly from the warehouse into the communities. A head of lettuce will last three weeks. We're really doing this for selfish reasons, because we like to eat a lot of vegetables fresh," said Eli McMillan.

Angela likes the convenience of how everything is paid for ahead of time, which adds to a smoother distribution day. To start her Ferron site, she can accommodate up to 60 people. On the first delivery day orders were filled for 30 people. Angela hopes the program will grow to include other distribution sites in Emery County. But, for now residents from Emery County and Carbon County are welcome to come to the distribution site in Ferron. The permanent site will be at the Dows Karate and Fitness Center in downtown Ferron. This site will offer inside pick-up on days when the weather is bad. Angela is the site coordinator for Ferron. She has spots available for 120 pick-ups each time if the distribution catches on and grows. She wanted to start with lower numbers and work her way up as people hear about the great service being provided. She hopes word of mouth advertising will allow more people to know about the produce. "For now we are trying every other week, but we hope to go to weekly deliveries. If there are any food baskets that aren't picked-up then they are given to charity."

Eli said, "This week we had a fresh pineapple, apples, bananas, blackberries, melon and tomatoes. Also broccoli, carrots, red potatoes, romaine lettuce swiss chard and mushrooms. There is quite a variety."

"After the participant pays for their basket then they print out a ticket which they bring along on distribution day as proof of payment. The baskets are numbered so everyone knows which one is theirs," said Eli.

Leslie Bolinder was one of the participants on this first distribution day, She said, "What are you out, it's only $15 and I wanted to give it a try."

Angela said, "It's so easy and convenient. It's quality produce. No one is making any money on this. We are just encouraging people to eat better. It's an all volunteer program. It's a good deal and we just want to share with people. It also encourages people to try new and different types of produce."

Orders are placed between Monday at 4 p.m. through Tuesday at 11 p.m. for the following Saturday delivery. For the May 1 delivery in Ferron then the orders need to be in by April 27 at 11 p.m. After trying out the fruits and vegetables, Bolinder said, "Yes, I would order it again. The bread was good, especially toasted with a little honey."

More details about Bountiful Baskets:

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 two sites and an average of 120 families a cycle participating, to more than hundreds of sites in seven states and around 70,000 participating families. In June of 2008 BBFC started to offer 100 percent organic baskets every other week.

The Co-op offers a conventional produce basket every other week which is generally half fruit and half vegetables. The monetary contribution is $15 and is generally worth $50 retail. Organic baskets require a contribution of $25 and are usually about the same amount of produce as the conventional baskets. To participate visit http://www.BountifulBaskets.org and check the schedule to see when your state is available to make your monetary 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. Bountiful Baskets is not a business. It is a group of people who work together for mutual benefit. We are up front and open about how things work. Our policies are as follows:

Bountiful Baskets Food Co-op is constantly growing to reach new areas through a large network of volunteers. We run at least every two weeks at each site. We are completely volunteer-run and make no profit. We look forward to adding other distribution sites as volunteers are trained and ready to open them. The home page on the website contains a complete listing of current sites. Cities marked with an * have 100 percent organic sites available. This is a Co-op. This is a grass roots, all volunteer, no contracts, no catch co-operative. Without volunteers this co-op wouldn't happen, so you will need to help as you are able. There are many opportunities to participate.

Reasons to participate include: This is a great deal and you are helping others get a great deal, too. With the conventional produce offering, you get approximately $50 worth of grocery store-quality produce. This co-op encourages a healthier lifestyle. You meet great people.

How the Co-op works: As a group, we purchase items at deep discounts. Items are then distributed evenly among participants.

Some details: Use this website to make monetary contributions toward the pools of money used to purchase product. Contribute the amount required for participation in each pool by the deadline listed. Additional details specific to the item contributed for are sent via email.

For produce baskets, we purchase from a warehouse that supplies produce to many local restaurants and grocery stores. This is the same produce you would get from a restaurant or store.

Basket contents: We get a variety of high-quality seasonal produce. We balance variety with seasonality in order to get the most appealing and cost-effective basket possible. We also choose to use local produce first when available, then regional produce including: California, Utah, Colorado and Northern Mexico.

Each site has a 20 minute pickup window. Pick-up times are listed on the webpage. Bring a container to take your produce home in. Laundry baskets, coolers, grocery bags, and boxes work great. Perishable items that are not picked up are donated.

Site Changes. 'Extras' are those items that will not distribute to the whole co-op one more time (if there are 40 bags of carrots in a case and only 36 baskets, four bags of carrots would be "extra.") Extras of like value will be combined and distributed together. For instance, if in the example above there were 32 extra celery bunches then the extra celery and extra carrots would be combined and people would get either extra carrots or extra celery.

The methodology will be to spread the benefit to as many co-op participants as possible to keep things fair, with volunteers getting one or two additional items for volunteering.

There is a $1.50 fee for each separate transaction. This fee applies to all transactions, even those made within the same co-op cycle. Please note: we are unable to add items to a processed transaction.

There is a $3 First Time Basket fee for new participants. This need only be applied with the first basket; it does not apply when selecting a new or different pickup site.

There are no returns. This is a co-op. We group together monetary contributions, purchase in the largest available package, and break it down to individual shares.

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