Bountiful Baskets

Last time I mention Bountiful Baskets.  But I thought they deserved their own thread.

Bountiful Baskets is a produce co-op that was started in Arizona. It has since expanded to Arizona, Idaho, Utah, and Washington. If you live in these states and aren’t participating, you’re missing out.

Actual Basket Contents From Site In Phoenix

Here’s how I describe the process.

Bountiful Baskets is a food co-op.  That means, all volunteer drive, no employees, and thus, no overhead.  Tanya and Sally (who run it) collect money from people, and then go buy produce.  That produce is split among those that contributed.  Doesn’t sound that amazing yet, does it?

Well, if I go to the store, carrots cost me $3 a bag.  But, if 10,000 people each contribute $16, that’s $160,000.  You show up to a produce distributor with $160,000 in your pocket, and you get a lot more buying power at lower prices.  So that’s basically it.  You pay $16.50 every other Tuesday (or every Tuesday if you’re really dedicated) and Sally and Tanya combine everyone’s money, and buy truck loads of produce.  On Saturday morning, those trucks head to per-determined meeting places, which are usually parks.  Volunteers arrive, and start to sort and distribute the produce.  From there it’s basic math.  If they t 160 bananas, and there are 20 people at the site, each basket gets 8 bananas.  If there are 300 apples, and 20 people, each basket gets 15 apples.  And so on.  Any remainders (meant both in math, and literally) go split between the volunteers.  Seems fair since they donated an hour to save me some money.

Actual basket contents from BB

Each basket is a bout a 50/50 mix of fruits and veggies (+/- 5%).  An average basket has about $35-50 worth of produce.  Yes, I’ve received up to $50 worth of produce by paying $16.50 for it.  Each basket has a fine assortment of average, and frequently used fruits and veggies (apples, oranges, pears, bananas, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, mushrooms, celery, etc).  Each week there is what I like to call the surprise, or curve ball item.  Kumquats, Persimmon, Guava, Blackberries, Pineapple, Brussels Sprouts.  One thing that makes you go, Hmmm…Never had this before.  Might have to look up a recipe.

Here’s the caveat.  You have no choice in what you get.  Sally and Tanya do all the shopping.  You shop up with a laundry basket, cooler, or re-usable grocery bags and haul it off.  There’s no choice, and no selection.  The draw back to that is, I hate celery.  I get celery a lot.  Other’s don’t care for certain items, that they get.  My mom’s complaint is that she had way to much lettuce after a month of baskets.  The bonus to that system is this.  You have no choice, and therefor need to make no decision.  It’s an easy flat rate system.  Also, you’ll try new things.  Would you ever buy Persimmon?  Probably not.  But did you know they make an amazing bread?  They do.  And we wouldn’t know without Bountiful Baskets.

Here’s another advantage.  We ALWAYS have fruits and veggies in the house.  The kids snack on apples and bananas, instead of Cheese-Its.  I always have a side item to serve with dinner, be it green beans, asparagus, potatoes, etc.  We are eating healthier, every day.  We have fresh fruit for breakfast and lunch, and veggies with dinner.

You could not go to the grocer and buy all this for $15.

For you home caners, this is the best deal going.  Not only do you have a steady supply of fresh produce coming in, but they also offer things in bulk.  It’s not every week…but they’ll offer cases of tomatoes, apples, peaches, cucumbers, citrus, and other stuff.  2 weeks ago I got 50# of cucumbers for an additional $17.50.  This week, I’m getting 20# of tomatoes for $9.50.  It’s an easy and convenient way to get produce for canning and preserving.

On a side note, they also sell bread, cookies, granola, and honey, although I haven’t bought that, as we bake our own bread and cookies.  They also have organic baskets every other week, but they cost more, and that’s not my thing (yet).
Long story short.  Pool your money, get better prices.  Get a ton of random, good quality, produce for $16.50.  Buy when you want, no obligation to continue.  We get it every 2 weeks.  My mom gets one a month.  Others I know get 2 baskets a week (with 7 kids at home).  It’s all up to you.  Their website “opens” on Tuesdays.  You can order between noon Tuesday, and 10pm Wednesday.  The produce is distributed Saturday morning between 0700-0900, depending on your site.  Please try it, at least once.  I think you’ll be hooked.

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6 Responses to “Bountiful Baskets”


  1. 1 Lisa Rae February 4, 2010 at 12:11 am

    What a great deal! Bountiful Baskets sounds amazing…

  2. 2 HOLLY February 4, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    WHY IS IT THAT BB HAS GROWN OVER THE PAST YEARS, MEANING MORE MONEY CONTRIBUTED TO THE POOL TO PURCHASE PRODUCE, MEANING THE MORE YOU BUY THE BIGGER DISCOUNT THEY GET……YET THE AMOUNT i GET EACH TIME HASN’T INCREASED BY A VEGTABLE? THE PRICES ARE STILL THE SAME, MY QUALITY AND QUANITY ARE THE SAME YET THEY HAVE 4,000 MORE PEOPLE PARTICIPATING?

    THEY HAVE A ALOT OF QUESTIONABLE ‘MOTIVES’ GOING ON HERE. I’M NOT TO SURE I’M GOING TO STICK WITH IT. I’VE FOUND THAT THEY SEEM TO BE MORE ABOUT MAKING MONEY BY FALSLY REPRESENTING THEMSELVES THEN THEY ARE ABOUT THE COMMUNITY ASPECT OF THE CO-OP. (SORRY NOT CO-OP i MEAN THEIR CORPORTATION) THATS JUST ONE OF THINGS THAT THEY FORGOT TO TELL THE TRUTH ON.

    LATELY THE QUALITY HASN’T BEEN GOOD EITHER. THEY’VE SCREWED UP MY ORDER SO I NEVER GOT ANY PRODUCE AFTER I HAD ALREADY PAID AND HAD CONFIRMATION. AFTER A HUGE RUN AROUND ABOUT GETTING A REFUND IT DIDN’T BECOME THAT GREAT OF DEAL ANYMORE.

    NOW THAT I SIT BACK AND REALLY THINK ABOUT THIS, I THINK I’M DONE.

    • 3 masonjarsandmixingbowls February 4, 2010 at 6:56 pm

      Why all the yelling?
      You raise an intereting point. I’m not sure how long you ahve been participating. I’ve been participating since about 2003. And I notice an increase in the amount of produce we got, starting mid 2005, when the membership really spiked. I even mentioned it to my wife. This was right around the time they got a new website, if anyone remembers that. So I would argue, and say that the quantity does increase with membership.

      As far as the quality is concerned, I can only speak for what I’ve received. I know that they use the same distributor that Sprouts does, and the quality is equal to that.

      As far as the corporation/profit conspiracy you are vaguely eluding to (I wish you’d just come out and make some solid points) I’d say this: I don’t care. I get a ton of produce every week for $15. If they are making money off of me, good for them. They provide a service I like, and I’m willing to pay for it. If you have a way to get that much product for that price, please share!! I’d love to know. I haven’t found an alternative.
      To me, your argument is similart to a hospital. Do they have volunteers? Yes. Do they purport themselves to be helpful to the community? Yes. Do they offer a service I can’t do myself? Yes. Are they makeing money off of me? I’m sure they are.
      But I’ve been happy with them since day one. Except that one time I saw blackberries at the pickup site, and got home and found my basket didn’t contain any. But I’ll live.

    • 4 CrestieMommy August 26, 2013 at 6:09 pm

      Ugh, I am done too, the organic basket is pathetic, such a rip off! I’ve seen the 2 baskets side by side and conventional has way more in it, whereas the organic (which costs $10 more) is a far cry from “bountiful”! And half the stuff isn’t ripe yet like hard as a rock, and when I set it in the sun to ripen, it goes bad. Wtf… terrible.

  3. 5 bluemoxie February 5, 2010 at 1:34 am

    the pictures you posted show BEAUTIFUL veggies. We rarely get stuff that pretty even in the grocery store. Looks like good quality to me, I wish we had something like this here, although I do buy shares in a local farm each year. But that only allows for local veggies, nothing exotic. Still a good value though!

  4. 6 literatrue February 6, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    Amazing! I’ve never heard of this kind of thing before.


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