What this post should really be called is HOW HAVE I NEVER DONE THIS BEFORE?!?!?
Bountiful Baskets is basically a produce co-op where you can get an assortment of approx, 6 types of fruit and 6 veggies for $15. You DO know strawberries are about $5 alone if you buy them in the store right now. What a steal. If you live in Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Washington or Wyoming you should seriously consider doing it. All directions for how it works are on the website.
So why is it such a steal/brilliant beyond brilliant idea? Mostly because
1) It's inexpensive and predictable. If I did this every week, at $15 a week (it actually totals $16.50 including the processing fee) it will add up to just under $70 of produce a month. (I saw some people who were single either sharing a "basket" and splitting the cost, or volunteering for the event if they had a big family, since you get to take home some leftovers). We try to keep our food budget under $200, which Mr. D can easily do with all the coupons he finds...but never coupons for fresh produce, so that is usually where we (I) spend the most amount of money (and I usually end up going over-budget as a result). This co-op makes it a predictable expense. And,
2) It forces you to try new things. Nowadays when we go grocery shopping, it is with Baby D, and I just want to get in and out as fast as humanly possible. So I usually end up getting the same old carrots/apples/tomatoes/avocados/bananas that I know we like and will eat, but it gets old after awhile. I love that with this co-op, you are given this wide assortment of fruits and veggies, but still has most things I would like. And,
3) It makes meal-planning easier. Even though I have to travel 10 minutes to get my produce (instead of going right down the street), it is well worth it since I only go "shopping" once a week, and can then put my creative meal-planning to the test... with some help from Nisha at Healthy Mom's Kitchen of course. Just like I tell my students, it really is much easier to be creative when you have some restrictions. Case in point? My former struggle with "make healthy meals incorporating fruits and veggies" as opposed to "use the produce shown below to make meals." In case you cannot detect my sarcasm, the latter is MUCH easier to adhere to. (Photo credits to Nisha from HMK, since I do not but will someday have a lovely kitchen table to display my yummy stash of goods)
4) If you love fruits and veggies (or just want to try eating healthier) and hate comparing prices, you should try this. So...this is what I got:
FRUITS: bananas, mango, Faoelle pears, coconut, cantaloupe, strawberries
VEGGIES: tomatoes, green leaf lettuce, asparagus, butter gold potatoes, broccoli
Nom nom nom. I am like a kid in a candy store (pun intended) when it comes to buying produce and I rarely look at prices, which is terrible, but this way I don't HAVE to price check (which, like any kind of math, I despise doing). Sure, I may be kicking myself for not having tried this FIVE YEARS AGO but at least I know about it now :) And since I've scrapped most of my new year's resolutions (too overly ambitious) in exchange for more practical ones (post on that forthcoming), this will certainly be added to the list: to go through and incorporate all my fruits and veggies within a week so I can show Mr. D that it is well worth the cost. Like I said, HMK is great for help in that department, utilizing BB and some coupon website for the non-produce stuff. She is really into low glycemic eating (which is not really my cup of tea) but the recipes and ideas are seriously heaven-sent.
Shouldn't be too difficult. I only got my stash this morning and already used up the lettuce and strawberries in a salad, a tomato for a sandwich and will be making Baby D a Mango-pear puree as well as a broccoli one for his baby food ice cubes tomorrow!