Affording Organics Part 4: Join or Start A Co-op

Are you familiar with Food Co-ops?

In basic terms, it’s a group that you can join where you order organic, natural or allergy specific foods by the multiples or case. Within this group, you can split cases with other members along with getting a group discount. Personally, I joined one about 6 or 7 years ago. At the time, we received a [thick] catalog once a month and placed an order all through email (now the catalog is viewed online.) A few years back, when gas prices rose, I stopped ordering as I didn’t want to make the extra trips to pick up my delivery. Also, at the time, I was getting “regular” foods cheaper with coupons at the grocery store.

As of two weeks ago, a new co-op has entered my area. It’s through B & B Organics Inc., which is a supplier of 100% fresh organic fruits and vegetables. Every other week, I am emailed a “menu” of what is available, which includes several different boxes (combo, all fruit, all vegetables, box for 2, munch box, a la carte) I order what I want and pick it up on the specified delivery day. Very simple. Pictured to the right is the first combo box I received. The price was $31.00 and everything was delicious (look at the size of that pepper!)  Granted, if given a choice, I would prefer local, in-season produce. Though, with it being winter in the Midwest, the only thing I can get locally is a box of snow. No thanks.

I am to pick up my second box today. Included are: 2.5 lbs. bananas, 3 lbs. Pink Lady Apples, 1 pkg. blueberries, 6 Royal Mandarins, 1 mango, 1 bunch celery, 2 avocados, 1 pkg. Italian salad mix, 1 red bell pepper, 1 pkg. cherry tomatoes, 1 bunch broccoli, 1 green cabbage, 2 zucchini and 1 pc. ginger root.  For this order, I added in 3 lbs. of onions and 1 lb. of strawberries from the a la carte list. The cost? $41.00. Now that I know we are happy with our orders, I’ll work these figures into my weekly grocery budget…lowering each week by about $15-$20.

What can you do if there is no available co-op in your area? First off, if you know a few people who might be interested, you could start one yourself. B & B Organics serves areas in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio. Talk to the manager at your local health food store or do some internet searching to see what choices you have in your area. OR…get together with some “organically interested” friends and order a few cases of non-perishable items on Amazon. Buy enough to get free shipping, then get together again to split it all up. Simple steps to healthy savings!

The entire Affording Organics series:

Part 1: Using Coupons

Part 2: Store Brands

Part 3: Make the Best Decisions

Part 4: Join or Start a Co-op

Part 5: Buy Local

Part 6: Lower Other Costs

Part 7: Plant a Garden Big or Small

3 Responses to Affording Organics Part 4: Join or Start A Co-op
  1. […] a package of organic blueberries staring me in the face and Paula Deen being my “Celebrity Chef of the Month“, did I […]

  2. […] couple of weeks ago, my co-op produce box included two organic lemons. We tend to not use a lot of lemon in the winter; mostly used in the […]

  3. […] I saved on my organics this week. Remember, aside from these items, I bought my produce from the co-op and my beef from the local […]

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