A while back Hubby Tony told me he overheard a couple of his coworkers talking about the food they get from a co-op. It sounded like an interesting concept, so I asked him to get more information. He did. Based on that information, last week I placed an order. Today I picked it up.
The St. Louis Area Community Helpings Coop operates in St. Louis and the Metro East area over the river in Illinois. They have a nice system; there are no contracts or long term commitments, and you only participate when it's convenient. There's a delivery every 2 weeks at more than 60 different locations. I was pleasantly surprised to find a location about two miles from the house.
All of the ordering is done online. I chose their Produce Basket, which was advertised as "50% Fruits, 50% Vegetables, 100% healthy and delicious". They use PayPal, so I was comfortable paying for it online. Not long after I submitted my order I received a confirmation email, and the next day I got another email telling me what was going to be in the basket and giving me some recipe ideas.
All week I've been looking forward to the pickup. At the appointed time I was at the delivery location with a laundry basket to carry my things home. I wasn't sure where to go, but when I saw a large refrigerated truck in the parking lot I figured I was in the right place. There were about a dozen other people there, many of them with school aged children.
Because this is a co-op, everyone pitched in to help sort and distribute the food. I wasn't sure what to expect, but the process was easy. Small cards containing numbers were laid on the sidewalk, and every order was assigned a number. If the person was there they set their box or bag down, otherwise the items were piled on the sidewalk. Each person claimed an item (mine was a box of green peppers) and dropped the appropriate amount at each number. It was a little chaotic, but 15 minutes later everything was distributed. I picked up my overflowing basket and headed for the car.
For the next two weeks, we'll be eating our way through Braeburn apples, oranges, bananas, pineapple, persimmons, green peppers, romaine lettuce, baby carrots, Napa cabbage, broccoli, grape tomatoes, baby portabello mushrooms, and bi-color corn. The original list had a couple of things that weren't delivered, but I know I'll find a use for the dozen brown eggs they substituted.