Saturday, April 19, 2014

First Bountiful Basket Assessment

Bountiful Baskets. Is It Frugal?

So, as mentioned, I got a "Bountiful Basket" on Saturday April 5, 2014 . I'm VERY happy with the quality.

Here's how the cost breaks down:

Basic Basket: 15$

Organic Upgrade: 10$

Fuel Surcharge: 4$

First Basket Fee: 3$

TOTAL: $32

Future baskets will cost me 29$ for an organic basic basket or 19$ for a conventional basic basket.

I chose organic because as you know, organic is a priority for me. I may try the conventional basket as one person noted that when she got one it was about half organic anyway. I would like to get one just to compare.

So, here's what I got and how much and how much it would have cost at the Moscow Food


Co-op Price Cost for quanitity

Broccoli 2lb 8oz 3.29/lbs 8.23

Red Kale 7oz 2.69/bunch 2.69 (same size bunch)

1 Honeydew Melon 2lb No melon available

4 Bartlett Pears 1lb 8oz 2.79/lb 4.18

1 Turnip 10oz 2.19/lb 1.36

2 Grapefruits 1lb 8oz 1.39/lb 2.09

2 Cucumbers 1lb 1.39/lb 1.39

1 Bunch Celery 2lb 1.29/lb 2.58

1 Bunch Asparagus 14oz 4.99/lb 4.37

7 Carrots with Tops 1lb 3oz 1.99/lb 2.36

6 Bananas (1 Bunch) 1lb 14oz 0.99/lb 1.86

Strawberries 2lbs 3.99/lb 7.98

Co-op Total: 39.09 (but no melon)

Total weight: 16lbs 8oz

So my cost per pound: $1.94 Co-op Cost per Pound: $2.69

That's not bad for organic. Also not bad...but the melon would

crank that up maybe 8$ on the total.

With 8$ melon: 47.09/16.5 = $2.90/lb

If the melon is included, the Bountiful Basket was nearly 30% savings.

If the Bountiful Basket didn't include the $3 first basket fee: 29/16.5 = $1.76/lb

I also hear that the conventional basket is quite a bit more food than the organic so probably quite a good deal.

A few critiques:

While the Bountiful Basket was a 30% savings over buying those fruit and veg at the Moscow Food Co-op (where I shop), I would not have gotten the big ticket items like strawberries, pears, melon, asparagus. I would not have gotten the carrots with tops for $1.99/lb, I would have gotten the 5lb bad for $4.99 (dollar a pound...baseline for a pretty good deal on most things). I would have gotten valencia oranges (which I did in fact get despite having so much fruit and veg at the house. They were on sale for $0.99/lb. Also would not have gotten kale. Just too expensive. I probably could have come in for $1.20 or $1.30/lb

One last issue: I drove 10 miles each way to get the basket. The site is 35 miles from the trailer. I was already going to the land so I am only including the trip from the land. While the co-op is 50 miles from the house (25 from the land), I had a radio show on Sunday so would be at the co-op anyway.

The cost of gas is a factor to consider as well.

I don't know that I'll be getting Bountiful Baskets all that often. While it is a good deal for what it is, I can eat more frugally with careful shopping. Since the co-op is walking distance from the radio station, it's easy to get there and I can go on a day when I'm already driving to the radio. I'll be making those trips anyway.

On the other hand, it may be worth it next winter. If I'm in a wee cabin and don't have storage space to do my fall stock up, one week's worth of fruit/veg at a time will be a better way to go. Perhaps on the weeks I don't have radio show.

I really did enjoy the treats of strawberries and asparagus. And I definitely ate much more fruit and veg so far this week. I still have 1/2 the celery, all the bananas (they were underripe), 1/2 the melon, some left over stirfry with some of the other veg, and the turnip. I plan to fix the turnip tomorrow. The bananas are ripening...but I still hate bananas so I'll need to make muffins or bread or something.

The upshot: Really impressed with how much high quality and high value food the Bountiful Baskets folks, it's all volunteer, were able to round up and distribute at that cost. If I lived in the town where the baskets show up (boxes really...) it could be a great convenience as I could walk to get it. The town I picked up in does have a local grocery store, but not one with a great deal of organic fruit and veg. If I were planning on being in Plummer even longer, it might intrigue me to be part of a group to get a delivery here.

In the summer I'll have a conflict between Bountiful Baskets, the farmers market in Moscow, and my CSA. I prefer local so one of the last 2 will win. it frugal?

Well, that depends. But it's one excellent option.

Will report later on the conventional basket when I get one.

As if today, April 19, I've gone through every thing from the basket EXCEPT a bit of the celery.  The bananas were tough to go through since I loath them in all forms other than banana bread/muffins.  I made 2 sets of banana muffins and gave most of it away.  I didn't waste much of anything but hulls and the occasional skin, which went into compost.  I didn't let anything go bad.

Now I'm going to try a conventional (not organic) basket and see what the value is and if it's part organic as reported on one discussion board.






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