I heard of this food co-op though 2 friends on the same day and decided to check it out. Basically you go online and register for "1 basket" and it's a grab bag of fruits and veggies. It is different every time, it happens every 2 weeks and everyone gets the same stuff. It's a little confusing, but from what I can tell it's a group of people who buy produce in huge bulk, divide it up, and sell it at discounted prices through their company. I went down to Udall Park today with my re-usable grocery bags (one I made myself .... more on that later) and picked up my basket.
It had grapes, strawberries, cantaloupe, peaches, asparagus, celery, acorn squash, tomatoes ..... basically everything you see in the picture and it was $15. It's cheap, but I'm not sure it's necessarily a great deal. Plus, there are a few things that we just won't eat so I guess I'll give those away. Cabbage or eggplant anyone?The major downside is I didn't get to hand pick anything so it's not all the freshest stuff. I also registered for the "Italian" bag which had a huge bunch of basil, parsley, garlic, onions, mushrooms and eggplant and that was $7.50.
It's not a bad deal for all of it together, but it is sort of a hassle. You have to register between noon on Tuesday and 10pm on Wednesday or you miss the registration window and don't get a basket. It's every other week so it's hard to remember to do. You have to go to Udall between 8-8:20 Saturday morning to pick it up or you loose your basket. If you don't show up to claim it the upside to that is your unclaimed basket is donated to a local firehouse so it doesn't go to waste. 20 minutes is not a large window so you better be on time.
On a slightly odd note I did know about 80% of the people there. The volunteers, the owners and lots of people in line. My "mama's on the loose" friends were even there with all their kids and husbands so it was great to visit with them and get introduced to more of their friends. The odd thing was that no one said hi to me. My friends did of course, but none of the people I knew that were standing around did. They looked at me for a long time, but then said nothing. It's like they were either trying to figure out who I was and didn't put it together or they did know who I was and didn't say anything anyway. One woman who was checking me in said,"What's your last name?" me: "Smith." her: "Oh yeah that's right. Your basket is over there." So she remembered me and then moved me along. It is a very strange feeling to be literally surrounded by people you have known since you were 11 and be treated like a stranger. Maybe some of them genuinely didn't remember me so I guess I can give them the benefit of the doubt, but the rest did know who I was and ignored me. I didn't say anything either so maybe I could have made the effort. But I think what bothered me the most was when I was standing in line there was a girl I have known since I was a teenager. She was facing me, saw me and turned her back on me. I'm sure there is a metaphore for this whole situation in there somewhere ....
I don't really want to hear any excuses from anyone why they think those people acted that way. I know what it felt like to be there and it definately was not very welcoming.
It was very weird .... I think it doesn't bother me, but I'm not totally sure.
I will try one more time and see if the next basket is better and then call it quits if it's not. (My friend said that the basket last time was much better). I heard there was another co-op in town that is cheaper, occurs every week instead of every other week plus their produce is local and that is an extra bonus.