How to find the freshest produce for your family & toddler!

Here at Beanster’s Bytes we blog a lot about farms, orchards, produce we’ve found at the farmer’s market and my personal favorite lately, food co-ops. I have to admit I didn’t know what fresh produce was until I started buying my fruits and veggies directly from the people that grow them. Feeding a picky toddler is easier with fresher fruit and veggies, trust me 😉

Fresh produce

This week’s bountiful baskets haul

Now the question you’ve probably been asking is, how do I find one in my area?

Gilcrease Pair

A pear growing at Gilcrease Orchard

I have to be honest, word of mouth from my friends is where I get my best info from. If I find a place I like then I talk to and build relationships with the people and farmers there. They can be some of the best people to ask for recommendations from. If that’s not an option or your friend’s idea of fresh fruit are the apples from McDonalds….then I’ve got some options for you.

Google, it’s my best friend when it comes to finding out about newer options in my area. Try searching for “farmers market, farm, food co-op” and your “city/town.” Yelp is also a great option and a lot of markets have reviews so you know what to expect before investing your time in a visit.

Localharvest.org is by far the coolest website I’ve found for researching options in your area. You can look for farmers markets, food co-ops, farms, orchards, CSA’s and more! Most farms even have phone numbers or email addresses listed which makes it easier to contact them if you are interested in scheduling a visit.

CoopDirectory.org is a great resource if you are looking specifically for a food co-op, I haven’t found it to be quite as extensive but I like to use it as a double check to see if I am missing any info.

filled baskets

Filled co-op baskets

Now that I’ve found several options in my area, what are the differences?

When Sarah first told me about this food co-op she joined I must have looked at her like she had two heads. Sarah’s blog on Bountiful Baskets got me to try it but the fresh, reasonably priced produce has got me to loyally contribute for my basket every Monday. Bountiful Truck 2

Food Co-op

A co-op can be a store which offers deep discounts for “contributing” or something like Bountiful Baskets where you do your pickup at different types of locations like parks and schools. It’s a group of like minded people pooling their money to buy straight from the farmers. This allows you to get much fresher produce and a much better price. (You’re basically paying what your grocery stores pays for their produce) Most recommend volunteering every couple of weeks as they can’t survive without volunteers.

Volunteers

Volunteers working hard to fill the baskets

 

Community Supported Agriculture

I’ll admit when I first heard of a CSA farm…I googled it (like I said, we are best friends) It’s Community Supported Agriculture and it’s actually a wonderful concept. It’s a way for the food buying community to create a relationship with a farm and receive a weekly basket of the freshest produce available anywhere. You make your financial contribution early on and it allows the farmer use the funds wisely and produce the highest quality of produce for you. There are a lot of options out there including organic, sustainable, local farms. We plan to visit Quail Hollow Farms, a local farm in the next week so look for an upcoming video!

Cows

Cows hanging out at a local CSA

“Pick and Pay” orchard or farm

This is the least common option, you’ll have to look a little harder to find a place where you can roam the orchard or farm and pick what you would like. We are fortunate enough to have Gilcrease Orchard almost in our backyard but if it’s something you think you and your children would enjoy, it’s definitely worth a short road trip to find one. It’s never too early to start teaching your toddler where their food comes from.Gilcrease Visit

Farmer’s Market

The easiest and most common option are farmer’s markets. You can be a little more impulsive at a farmer’s market and choose items you’ve been wanting. The only downfall is they can be pricier then other options. This is mainly because of the traveling the farmer has to do to bring the items to you and booth rent can be expensive depending on the location of the market.farmers market collage

These are all activities you can get your toddler involved with. Bean goes pretty much everywhere with me and the farmers market is one of her favorite things to do. (She gets LOTS of free samples, why wouldn’t she love it?)

What’s your favorite place to pick up your produce? Do you have any tips for finding local options? Please comment below if you have any questions!

Thanks!

Crystal

Wife, Aunt, Blogger, YouTuber & Marketing Enthusiast. Connect with me on Social Media!
Posted in Gardening, Healthy Habits, Nutrition & Wellness Tips, Paleo, Snacks, Tips & Tricks and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .

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