Monday, December 1, 2014

Bountiful Baskets

I have been so excited that we are now living in an area that offers Bountiful Baskets!  There is so little information out there on the internet that I wanted to share about the process.  First of all, what is Bountiful Baskets?  It is a food co-op where volunteers help with the organization and distribution of the produce and other items so that the price is significantly lower for all participants.  Although these sites are not very common in most states yet, anyone can start one in his or her community!  If we ever move to an area that doesn't offer it, I plan to start up a site.  That is how much I have come to love this experience!  For those who are curious, I wanted to walk you through the process! (Sorry for the picture quality!  I didn't think I could handle my camera with the basket and the kids.)

On the Monday and Tuesday before, participants sign up for their baskets.  Regular baskets are available for $15 and organic baskets for $25.  You can also add on some other wonderful items.

 Then, on Saturday morning, you show up at your location to pick up your produce.  Our site is at an elementary school.  Volunteers show up a little early to sort everything into individual baskets (1 small laundry basket for fruits and 1 for veggies).  Each person sacks their items up when the site leader calls his or her name.

Here is what came in our first basket:  Some sort of greens, avocados, beets, zucchini, cucumbers, onions, and persimmons (which should have been in the fruit basket), blackberries, red pears, apple pears, bananas, and a galia melon.  All for $15!  This is the exciting part to me…you don't know what you are going to get until you show up to pick it up!  It is a great way to branch out and try new things (I never would have tried beets or persimmons!).  

You had better believe that we ate ALL of the blackberries the minute we got them in the car! So good!

Since I had never worked with some of these items before, I did a little Pinterest Perusing and came up with some fun (and simple)

recipes.  Here are a few of the dishes we had from our basket through the week:

The persimmons got frozen and made into smoothies.  A little milk and pumpkin spice with these made a delicious breakfast that we all enjoyed!


The kids "helped" sautee the greens and enjoyed trying them.  They were "dewicious" according to Thatcher.  :-)

Homemade pickles out of the cucumbers.  No canning for me at this stage of life.  Ain't Nobody Got Time for That.  But these turned out pretty good!  A little Mandolin Magic.  White vinegar, salt, sugar, pickling spice.  No measuring ever.  That's how I roll.  

Here is what ended up happening with the beets (which I was assured at the site is not a basket frequenter).  I made beet chips, or as I like to call them, Peppermint Chips (may have been a little under-ripe?  But I loved this effect!).  I didn't get a picture of them after they came out of the oven because they were gone too quickly, but everyone thought they looked and tasted like bacon when they were through roasting in the oven.  This was another job for the mandolin slicer.  Some Olive oil spray and sea salt made them perfect.  I wouldn't mind if there were beets in the basket every week!

We also have gotten organic bread both times we have gotten a basket.  Organic Multigrain was offered the first week and Organic Honey Wheat the next.  Organic bread for only 2.50 a loaf!  It comes in 5-loaf packs but freezes well to last throughout the month (or week if you go through bread as fast as our family does!)

There are lots of other items offered as add-ons.  So far, I've seen offers of tortillas, granola, vanilla beans, cooking herbs and spices, olive oil, pizza crusts, english muffins, pretzel buns, pounds of apples, oranges, blackberries, lemons, nuts, beans, and many other items.  Here is a glimpse of the stew pack and lunch box pack that we got for $8.50 and $10.50. 

Fresh herbs, garlic, celery, carrots, kale, and potatoes ready to be made into a delicious stew!

Carrots and several kinds of apples, and pears, ready for snacking and sending with lunches!

Here is what came in our last basket:

I can't express how fun and budget-friendly this experience has been for our family.  I wish every city could have a site, and there is no reason why each city can't have a site as long as there are people there wanting to make it work!