I was complaining to a friend about the lack of good produce available in our area (or at a reasonable price). She suggested Bountiful Baskets. At that time, she hadn't tried it yet but had heard great things about the program.
Bountiful Baskets is a non-profit group that makes produce available for a low cost. At $15 a basket, it seems quite economical so I thought I'd try it. There were a few things that would have been good to know:
1. There's a $1.50 handling fee
2. There's a $3 first time user fee
Making my total for the first basket nearly $20. I still went ahead and found myself pleasantly surprised. For that money we got a bunch of bananas, 2 mangos, 5-6 granny smith apples, 5-6 oranges, 7-8 kiwis, a head of romaine, 10 heads of garlic, 1 bag carrots (1pd I believe), and 1 sm bag of potatoes. I believe that was everything. It was a nice change from iceberg lettuce salad mix. We made Beef stew on Sunday that was so good. The oranges and mangos went fairly quickly and so did about half the apples (I am trying to save them to make apple pie jam - if we get more). The kiwis are a little more time consuming than just grabbing the apples, bananas or oranges but I look forward to getting into them soon (we are thinking kiwi pancakes on Sunday).
All in all it was a good deal. This next week will be even better.
We opted to buy two baskets (1 for us and 1 for my Dad). This makes our baskets $15.75 each since they only charge the handling fee once. My dad also saves on the first time user fee.
There are some catches to this program. You have to sign up at their website bountifulbaskets.org on Monday or Tuesday (you can look to see if there is a program in your area). Then on the pick up day, which seems to mostly be Saturdays, you have a 20 minute window to pick up your food or it's donated to the food bank. There are no refunds. The good thing is that you decide each week if you want a basket, a bad thing is there is a limit to how many baskets are sold but they may expand the baskets if there is more demand.
The website is not as user friendly as I would like. It seemed difficult to find the information I wanted. Part of that stems from their inability to see in the future - they can't guarantee what will be available from week to week but they always seem to have a good selection (you also don't get to pick and choose - you get what they give).
They do have extra stuff from time to time. This week there was an option to get a big thing of strawberries. I highly recommend trying the program and seeing what you think.