Local food co-ops have started popping up around the nation to support farmers, bring organic food to your doorstep, and reduce everyone’s carbon footprint. But is there one local to you? If you’re living in the Dallas Fort Worth area, there’s a food co-op just around the corner! Your Health Source is a food co-op run by my new friends Monica and Jim.
Every other Saturday I roll out of bed and drive down my street about 6 blocks to pick up 15 to 30 pounds of fresh, organic fruits and veggies! I drop off my check, cross my name off the list, and pick up my veggies – it’s that easy. Now, I can’t eat 30 pounds of fruits and vegetables in two weeks so I share my basket with 3 other neighbors. We have all been participating for the last 9 months, and so far – we love it! There is always a wide variety of items from staples (onions, potatoes, bananas) to more exotic items like sunburst squash. My favorite part of having the co-op is that it has forced me to try vegetables that I probably would have never bought in the first place. Every time I get an odd veggie, the co-op sends a fun recipe to my inbox, so there’s no guessing involved. One recent accomplishment was finally finding a beet recipe that was enjoyable. I’m sorry, but beets just taste like dirt! Carter made a tasty beet risotto that was five-star restaurant worthy. I would have never known that my least favorite veggie was riddled with possibilities.
I usually pick up my basket of produce around 9am, but how does it arrive so early in the morning? Volunteer and helpers sort the food between 4-5am, which means farmers and local suppliers have to have trucks unloaded by 4am! How these wonderful people get themselves up this early – I do not know. But thank you! In true reporting form, Carter and I made it to Fort Worth to watch the sorting this last Saturday morning. Jim was nice enough to meet us and show us how the process works. The food arrives in boxes and each worker weighs the produce and places them in designated areas to be taken to pick-up sites (that’s where I get my basket). Saturday is a light day; around 150 families are provided food. Tuesday, however, provides food for 700-800 families. It’s suppose to be a site to see! From the sorting site, each load is taken to the pick-up sites where it’s then put into each families’ basket to be picked up later that morning.
The food co-op was started about 10 years ago when Monica and Jim made the decision to eat organic and raw foods. Their friends started taking notice and the couple began supplying items for others – Your Health Source was born. Monica says the hardest part of running the co-op is sourcing local produce. There aren’t many farmers in this area that supply certified organic fruits and vegetables, so sometimes items have to be shipped in. Life also has unexpected events, like the mushroom supplier hitting a cow on the 3am trip down from Oklahoma (you’re lucky you got mushrooms this week!).
If you’re interested in joining the food co-op here’s what you need to know. You can receive a basket of food every other Saturday or Tuesday (it depends on which site you choose). Each basket has around 15-30lbs of organic food (usually closer to 30 lbs) and costs $50. If you don’t need a full basket, consider splitting with a neighbor or friend. Otherwise, there is a $27 option for a half a basket. There are over 55 local pick-up sites in DFW and the list is growing. For more details or to sign up, go to Your Health Source.
For those of you who already participate, please leave a comment about your experience, favorite part, or maybe you have a great story about your kids trying new foods. I would love to hear from people who love the food co-op as much as I do.
Think your friends might be interested in the food co-op? Email this link to your buddies: http://www.evaluatetheplate.com/newsite/2011/10/organic-food-co-op/