Co-Op Produce – Bringing A Little Mystery To The Dinner Table

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Candy BeetsOK, I’m officially jealous of a friend. One of my friends found a co-op in the area and joined a few weeks ago. In case you haven’t heard of co-ops, they are a great thing. They are similar to a farmer’s market but better. They typically are a group of people that join together and use their purchasing power to buy large amounts of locally grown fruits and vegetables.

Some co-ops also have options for cage free eggs, hormone free chicken, and grass fed beef too. When you sign up to be a member, you agree to buy either a half-share or a full share of produce every two weeks. The co-op organizers pool all the money together, buy tons of produce from local farmers, and divide it up amongst all the members.

That alone is pretty awesome because the members get tons of fresh fruits and veggies, plus the local farmers are supported and better able to stay in business. Usually you are responsible for paying for your share whether you pick it up or not. This co-op will donate your share to a food bank if you aren’t able to pick up your share for some reason.

If that wasn’t enough to excite you, there’s more. The part that makes me really jealous is that they include seasonal fruits and veggies that aren’t necessarily run of the mill, grocery store items. My friend texted me the picture above and wanted to know what the heck this veggie was. She said it was a cross between a beet and a turnip, and neither of us knew what to do with it.

I took to the internets and posted the pic on twitter. My sources came through for me and we found out it was a candy beet! A special type of beet only available in the wintertime. I googled and found that you can make a delicious candy beet, walnut, bleu cheese salad. OMG, it sounded good. I’ve never heard of a candy beet.

I’ve been on the fence about joining the co-op but think my decision is made at this point. Seems like a pretty great thing and who couldn’t use more fruits and veggies in their lives. Have you ever tried a co-op? Did you get special fruits and veggies in your share?

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