Organic fruits and veggies are spendy. That’s why neighborhood resident Sarrah Bolin wanted to join Health Source Co-op, a group that buys organic, in-season produce from local farms at wholesale prices and splits it, beating grocery store prices by eliminating the overhead. Bolin and her husband divide a truckload of food among roughly 30 members of the Kessler Co-op twice a month at their Kessler Plaza home.
Tell us about a little bit about the Kessler Co-op.
Every other Saturday, we have a delivery to my house in Kessler Plaza. It’s delivered early in the morning, and my husband and I go out and sort all the food. Each member has a bin, and all the food is prepaid, so people just come and pick up their bins and leave a check for the next delivery.
What type of produce do you get?
Well, we usually find out a week beforehand what we’ll get. It’s usually between 14 and15 types of items. So that would be maybe a five-pound bag of potatoes, two big bunches of bananas, a couple of avocados, two big heads of lettuce, some fruit. It’s a ton of produce for the price.
Is it all vegetables, or what?
It’s more than just fruits and vegetables — that’s the main thing because everyone gets a share of produce. But we also get farm fresh eggs, and you can order pretty much any grocery item you can possibly imagine. Everything is USDA certified organic.
How much does it cost?
There is a $25 membership fee, and it’s $50 for a share. A lot of people split their shares with friends or neighbors because it’s so much food, and then they’re only paying $25.
What’s the advantage of doing this?
It’s just that we’re all going in together to buy in bulk. It’s less expensive because we don’t have the overhead of a location. I’m a hostess location, and I don’t get paid. It’s really just the cost of the food. And, especially in Oak Cliff, we don’t really have a big market for health foods. So this just really provides that for the community.
But you don’t get to pick and choose, right? You just have to take what you’re given.
The positive side of that is that it gets you out of a rut of buying the same food over and over. You know how you go to the grocery store and you just tend to buy the same things over and over? With this, I’ve tried things that I never would’ve bought.
And a lot of our members who split their share with friends or neighbors, they can work it out among themselves. If one person hates beets, then you hope that the other person loves them. Also, I send out recipes that coordinate with the foods that we’re getting, especially if we’re getting something a little unusual.
We get chard quite often, and I had never had chard before. I would consider that a little bit unusual. We do get beets, which are not necessarily unusual, but it’s something that people might have a difficult time figuring out what to do with.
You and your husband dedicate two Saturdays a month to this, and you don’t get paid. It sounds like a lot of work.
It’s probably more work than I had anticipated, but I definitely think it’s worth it. And there’s also a great community aspect. It’s fun because everyone comes between 10 and 12, and you get to meet everyone and get to know them. It’s just a great way to get involved in the community and get healthy food at a discount.
Learn more about Health Source Co-op at yourhealthsource.org or contact Sarrah Bolin to join at firstname.lastname@example.org.