A Clovis & Portales Survival Guide
Bountiful Baskets will have a great affect on your intake of micronutients. Get weekly loads of produce for as little as $15!
A year and a half ago when I first landed, I found one health food place that had never heard of Bountiful Baskets before and all of the farmers markets were closed. In a time before Paradise Market was ever heard of, this left me with Sprouts… 2 hours away. NOT ANY MORE!! We have a Co-op!
If you are a person who likes food and has a credit card… especially a person that loves to cook… this will be a treat!! OK. The way a Co-Op works is:
Everyone puts a contribution into a pot via internet and credit card. The Co-Op people buy entire pallets of fruits and veggies directly from farmers with the money from that pot. Saturday, a truck comes with all those fruits and veggies… volunteers take those veggies and divides them equally for the number of contributors. You bring a bag/basket/box to carry your goods home in and the receipt from your contribution.. and then you take home your portion of veggies. Your portion will be a basket full of fruits and a basket full of veggies. The produce items that are purchased en mass are guided by occasional surveys from contributors. (What was your favorite item, What was your least favorite item, ect.) I know it all sounds a bit complicated but its been working this way for years and it runs a lot smoother than it sounds. The worst thing that will ever happen is the truck might run late.
You can get a basket full of farm fresh produce for $15 or upgrade to certified organic for an extra $10. They have weekly seasonal extras that you can pitch in for that are a steal. Expect extra options like mass quantities of citrus and cucumber in Summer. We just recently got a 40lb load of tomatoes for $20. They also have some random offerings like a bucket of honey or coconut oil. We only get our bread from the Co-Op. Its another great deal at $8 for 5 loaves of organic 9 grain bread.
My other favorite things are the “packs”. A pack is an extra bag that you can add to your contribution for about $8 and is themed! I’ve gotten a Thai pack, Italian pack, guacamole pack. The Thai pack for example might have ginger, garlic, onions, bock choy, that weird asian brocoli, lemon grass, some other random Thai stuff… but until my herb garden starts putting out like I paid her to, the herb pack will always be my favorite.
People on a budget should buy this. Health conscious people should buy this. People with large families should buy this. Students who dont have time to grocery shop should buy this. (I’m a fan, can you tell?) Its a community affair and it provides great food for a low cost. To think… one of my girlfriends had never eaten bok choy until she came to enjoy one of my Bountiful Basket stir frys! Thanks to Bountiful Baskets my pantry is stocked with mason jar rainbows full of jellies, preserves, salsas, sauces and pickles. Its completely run by volunteers and everyone is welcome to lend a hand. If you are interested in volunteering all you need to do is show up to the pick up site an hour early. Its a great way to get kids involved with the community and interested in healthy eating. People bring their children to the pick up site all the time and teenagers make great volunteers.
OK. Now the downside:
The contribution window is Monday to Tuesday at 10pm. The contributions have a limit and do often cap out. You have to be quick on the draw so not to miss out. The easiest thing for me is to set an alarm on my phone but I still get text reminders from friends all the time. (I have great friends)
They only accept Visa and Mastercard. Sorry AMEX people.
Pick up is on Saturdays. Period. You show up when they tell you to or you dont get your basket. I have had to pick up baskets for friends who couldn’t make the pick up time on many occasions and its not a big deal but if you know you aren’t flexible on Saturdays, arrangements are in order.
You cannot pick up the extras without first contributing for a basket. So when you dont want an entire basket of produce but you do want the rhubarb pack for $8 or the big bag of granola for $10… You have to tack it onto a friends contribution. Also not a huge deal. I’ve done this for people too but its still something to keep in mind.
You will not always love everything in your basket. Celery. I get celery and I hate it!! The thing is that these pallets are purchased based on what makes everybody happy. You will get surveys once in a while after picking up your contribution asking what your favorites and least favorites were. Checking up on the quality of the produce to make sure the farmers are up to par. If I am the only person who hates celery… I’m a little out of luck. If squash is showing up bruised, they’ll find another farmer.
You will not always know what everything in your basket is, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but worth noting. You will absolutely broaden your produce horizons which is always fun. Persimmons, artichokes, alien looking squash, tomatillos. It’s all in there at one point or another. They try to jazz up the basket with a ‘wild card’ veggie and its always fun to be a detective and scour the internet for new recipes. If you ever have questions about your basket feel free to ask a volunteer. I know the Portales site FB page is always giving out info and recipe ideas too.
The truck is late. It happens and its no ones fault. Keep up with your local BB site to get real time updates on if your truck is on time or not. It usually is but you just can never be too safe. Here is the link to the Portales Site.
If you want more info, check them out at BountifulBaskets.org