About Produce Co-Ops

The produce you buy at the store is really quite old - and as it ages, it loses some of its nutritional value. Overwhelmingly, it also crosses great distance to get to you - causing higher pollution, and hurting the "little" local guys.

I discovered the co-op system from a friend, who, with her husband, owns a "farm to table" restaurant, meaning they source their ingredients from local farms and an on-site garden. (It's delicious, by the way - 29 South in Fernandina.) I'd never even heard of the co-op concept. Basically, a local organization acts as the sort of "middle man" between you and farmers. You receive a delivery on a schedule you choose - from weekly to monthly - and your produce is all locally and regionally sourced. Depending on the co-op you choose, you may receive organic produce and other products as well.

I use Local Fare Jax, and I could not sing higher praises. I get more than enough produce for me and the boy every week. I get fruits and vegetables; herbs; fresh, rotating styles of bread from The French Pantry; and whatever other locally sourced products I may choose to add. Once a month, I add cage-free eggs and a local artisinal cheese.

I can't describe the amount of satisfaction I get from this. Not only do I frequently get vegetables that are hard-to-find in stores, such as pattypan squash and field peas, but I feel uplifted by supporting my local businesses. My participation in this has illuminated how I live my life, and I am now making the effort to be more "green" in all aspects of my homemaking.

It is in my nature to get lazy. I want to cook really healthily, but oftentimes, I don't want to make the effort. Getting this weekly produce delivery forces me to cook, as I lament the food going to waste.

Best of all, you cannot get a better value for the money. When you see the amount of produce you receive, and for only $27, it is quite easy to calculate how much more you would be spending buying all your produce at the grocery store.

In other words - you can do it. I recommend this system to anyone who brings up food. I'm a bit obsessive.

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