Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Bountiful Baskets

Before we moved here over a year ago, my friend Joelle told me about Bountiful Baskets and suggested that we begin ordering from them. She has reminded me several times and we never did it. She reminded me in January and I decided to order once to try it. It becomes a little addicting to see what they offer each week.
This is the way it works, you place an order online on Monday afternoon or Tuesday and you go pick up your veggies and fruit on Saturday morning. It has a 20 minute time to pick up, if you aren't there then they will donate it. I don't think we will participate in the summer when we can go to Farmers Markets, but this has been a nice addition to our produce in the winter. They would appreciate your help volunteering at the site at least once every 6 times you participate. We have not volunteered yet as we were seeing how this works. We will try to volunteer soon since we appreciate it. We began ordering in January.

The first time we ordered a regular basket and this is what we received. The Lambs loved all the oranges, apples, and bananas. The brussel sprouts and carrots (purple and white ones too!) were great as roasted veggies. We decided to participate every other week after this nice basket.

The second time we got a regular basket. The Lambs loved the watermelon but we don't eat many white potatoes so I wasn't as impressed with the veggies as the week before. 

We did order some extras this second time. We got two of these guacamole packs that have what you see in this photo. It had garlic, jalapeno, onion, lime, lemon, and avocado. We loved this having fresh guacamole and our favorite recipe of colored bowls. We were glad we ordered two of these packs. A few of the avocados weren't good, but we had so many that it was ok.
On the left you can see that we also ordered 8 lbs of strawberries. I made jam and the leftovers were cut up for a nice big bowl of strawberries when we had company for lunch one day. It was great to make jam in the winter plus our jam was almost gone after giving away so much for Christmas gifts.
I wasn't available to pick up the third time we ordered so Ram and the Lambs did the pick up and took the photo. So the photo is of everything together here. We received a regular basket plus ordered a lot extra. This was our biggest order so far. We also ordered a Italian theme veggie pack that had garlic, basil, oregano, rosemary, onion, parsley, bell peppers, mushrooms, and eggplant. This was great to have all these veggies in the winter!
We also ordered 20 lbs of oranges (which the Lambs ate really quickly) and 25 lbs of tomatoes which I put in the freezer. When we lived in MN we were given tomatoes by several of our members and what I put in the freezer in the summer was enough for all our recipes all year. Here some members gave us tomatoes and we had one tomato plant. But we have used many more cans of tomatoes than ones frozen. I was glad to take this chance to freeze a bunch of tomatoes which will hopefully last us until this summer when I can get some at the Farmers Market.

We ordered this week for our 4th time and will pick it up on Saturday. We ordered a regular basket and some extras. We ordered a veggie pack with a Mexican theme with garlic, jalapeno, cilantro, lime, onion, grey squash, avocado and tomatillo. We ordered a Tropical pack with vanilla beans, pineapple, mango, lime, coconut, kiwi, fresh mint, and ginger.

They offer many more extras that we have not and probably will not try-good quality bread, coconut oil, tortillas, etc. We are attempting to eat gluten free and I like Tropical Traditions coconut oil. I have been quite pleased with Bountiful Baskets and it has helped stock our fridge with veggies and fruit during the winter at a very reasonable cost.
The one thing is you get so much at once that you have to think right away what to fix and you don't know ahead of time what will be in the regular basket. So far we have thrown out some spinach and some celery because we didn't get to it fast enough. But when you look at all the veggies we have had that wasn't too bad to waste those two things. Plus it is so nice to the budget to not put any of this produce on your grocery list-we are stocked up on onions and garlic again from the extras we ordered. The Lambs are happy to have fruit to snack on too.

Ordering every other week has worked well for us. The first week we work on what will spoil soon, the second week we work on what will last a little longer like potatoes/squash/apples/oranges. Sometimes the first week seems like we have too much, the second week seems like not enough veggies. But it has seemed to work out and if we really need something we could get it at the grocery store. We only have to come up with recipes to use what will spoil right away the first week, we get a little break from immediate recipe planning the second week. Plus this way we only have to get out of bed early every other Saturday!
The other nice thing is when you order on Monday you usually know if you will be busy or out of town on Saturday so you shouldn't order. So far the timing has worked out perfectly by ordering every other week-the one Saturday that Ram and I were both busy was the week that was our week that we didn't order.

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