Sunday, March 11, 2007

Beyond Cash: Other Perks of My Organic Buying Club: Recipes for Old Bananas & More!

In my last post, I wrote about the food co-op that we use to buy organic fruits and vegetables for at least 20 percent less than retail stores. We save lots of money and eat well.

But beyond the money-saving benefits, there are a lot of other perks to our buying co-op. Today, I feature a few of those benefits. On Monday, I will post a list of items that are best to buy organic and those that are less of a priority (okay to buy non-organic.)

In addition to the cash savings and the access to tastier/healtheir fruits & veggies, there are other perks of membership:

1. Discovery of new fruits/veggies: Our tote bags often include unusual fruits or veggies. As a result, we stretch our taste buds. My family has sampled different kinds of squashes, purple carrots, white carrots and exotic fruits. We have tasted items that would have never made it into our shopping cart but have since become family favorites.

2. Re-discovery of old standards. Our menu includes plain old vegetables that we have added back into our diet because they have been in our sack of organic veggies. Our meals include beets, red potatoes and other basics that were too boring for us in the past.

3. Commraderie: My husband and I feel a real sense of community with other members of our food buying club. We've formed new ties and strengthened existing relationships. When we pick up our sacks of bi-weekly shipments, we check in on each other.

4. Exchange of information/recipes: When faced with an unusual vegetable or fruit, members are quick to offer recipes and cooking insights. We've gained information about preparing squash, kale and other goodies.
For example, here is the recipe our group leader sent us for bananas.

Banana Sorbet – Quick Easy and Delicious!

When your bananas start to speckle brown, peel and freeze in Zips or containers. This recipe will allow you to utilize any surplus bananas on hand when ever you want a healty treat.

Frozen Bananas
Fresh Lemon
Dash of Cinnamon

Pulse Process bananas in a food processor. Add a tablespoon or two of fresh lemon juice and a dash of cinnamon just to add some extra zip. Process till smooth to soft serve consistency. Serve in dessert cups with a sprig of mint.

--Jayne Rosenbaum, Organic Produce Buying Club of South Florida

There are organic buying clubs around the country. My earlier post includes national links and a link to a tip sheet about buying organic foods on a frugal budget.

Here's a short description of how our organic food club works:


Bi-Weekly, pre-paid Mixed Variety Share: $43.00. 2 large totes filled. 25–35 lbs. fruits, veggies and greens. Shares change according to market, season and availability. We take a strong stand on purchasing from only responsible,sustainable farms as well as a commitment to purchase from the State of Florida,when the season permits and from within the United States. Local area groups meet through out the State of Florida. Always Fresh. Always Certified. Always Priced Below Retail. Free Produce …(also available).



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