After my Meals With My Deals post a couple of weeks ago I got tons of questions on how to find a local produce co-op.
A produce co-op is a great way to minimize your produce costs since most of the time you can get a pretty substantial discount for buying in bulk.
Here are a few steps you can take to get involved with a local produce co-op:
1. Check out LocalHarvest.org to see if there is already a co-op going on in your area. They have a great listing of the Co-ops, Farms, CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture), and Farmer’s Markets in areas all over the country.
2. If you can’t find one, start your own! Ask around your local mom’s group, church, community message boards, etc… and see what the interest level is. Then talk to your local farmers or vendors at your Farmer’s Market and ask them what kind of discount you can get for buying in bulk.
3. Once you have a price per person figured out, spread the word and set up a rotation to pick up the produce from the farm or Farmer’s Market. Typically, the more people you have in the co-op the better the prices will be, the more variety you will be able to get, and the less YOU will have to be the pick-up person.
Since I know there are a lot of North Texas readers here, I also wanted to let you guys know about a GREAT opportunity for an Azure co-op here in North Texas. The more I read about Azure the more excited I get. Azure sells tons of bulk organic and natural foods online, and if you are lucky enough to have one of their co-ops near you then you can get the products at very discounted prices. I was looking around their page yesterday and saw organic apples for only $1/pound!
They are currently trying to gauge the interest level to see if there is enough interest for them to bring the co-op here to North Texas (it’s a very very very large co-op). If you are interested in learning more or joining the co-op, please email Diane at “penningtonfam AT yahoo DOT com” (replacing the AT and DOT with a @ and .)
I really hope that we can get this awesome organic co-op here in the North Texas area!
What suggestions do you guys have for starting a co-op? Any pitfalls to avoid? Have you had success with a co-op before?