We just joined a produce buying co-op — got our first delivery last week. This is our first experience with one of these, but so far we’re thrilled.
We wanted to get more fresh fruits and veggies into our diet, and it was important to us to support local farmers. We live in a semi-rural area that’s under a lot of development pressure. We like the open spaces, and anything we can do to encourage local farmers to keep on farming instead of selling out to the developers, we want to do.
So when, at a recent weekend farmers’ market in town, we came across flyers for a produce buying co-op, we jumped on it. For those of you in the Triangle area in North Carolina, it’s called The Produce Box. Check ’em out!
The farmer gets an outlet for his produce. The food is delivered to our door once a week, so we get the benefit of farm-fresh produce without the hassle of growing our own garden or schlepping ourselves down to the farmers’ market every week (although we’ll probably still do that most weeks, anyway). Something like this is great for those who don’t have a lot of garden space (apartment-dwellers, city folk and the like) and those — like us — who for whatever reason can’t grow a garden (in our case, a huge local deer, rabbit and raccoon population, plus no spare time for gardening).
It’s probably a little more expensive than buying produce at the Wal*Mart, but the stuff is fresh, fresh, fresh! Definitely locally grown. And delicious — varieties that have been selected more for taste than for “ease of shipping.” Not to mention how good it makes us feel that we’re supporting our local farmers.
We also figured this was a way of forcing us into more variety in the plant-food portion of our diet. This week, we got strawberries, new potatoes, sweet potatoes, a head of cabbage, asparagus, radishes and garden peas. Yum!
I’ll keep you posted over the summer with our ongoing experiences, maybe share some of the recipes I try.
So, have you ever tried one of these buying groups? What were your experiences? If you’ve never tried one before, would you consider joining one?