Save on organic produce with a local co-op

For most families buying organic is too expensive, but there's a local organization here to help.
April 7, 2014 4:11:13 AM PDT
Organic produce is typically more expensive than traditional produce, but there is a way it can be a little easier on your wallet.

According to the USDA, consumer demand for organic products has grown over the past decade with retail sales valued at $35 billion last year.

For most families, buying organic is just too expensive. That's where the Rawfully Organic Co-op comes in.

As soon as the sun rises, the work begins. Tents are positioned, boxes and boxes of organic produce are carted off the trucks and volunteers hand-pick each order.

When all that is done, the members line up eager for hugs and are ready to get their boxes.

"I come to the co-op almost every Saturday that I can because organic fruits and vegetables just taste so much better, and it's a great price," Rawfully Organic Co-op member Shelly Malek said.

Co-founder Kristina Carillo-Bucaram says there are more than 6,000 families from the Houston area registered with Rawfully Organic.

"Our cooperative is a community," Carillo-Bucaram said. "Basically it's people coming together to share in seasonal and local produce so that we can all get a discounted price at it while still getting organic, in bulk and as much local as possible."

Three days a week, her volunteers set up at locations around Houston. The co-op has three pick-up locations on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. In addition, on Tuesdays there are some drop-off locations in the greater Houston area. There isn't a fee to join the co-op and there are four different options to purchase.

There's a half share, which is a mix of fruits and vegetables. It's the most popular box that sells for $47.

"Definitely lots of apples and pears, and cucumbers and tomatoes, and a plethora of local greens," said Carillo-Bucaram.

For fruit lovers, you can order a half share of just fruits for the same price of $47.

The full share is double or more of the half share, filled with produce for $87.

"I typically recommend for a family of five or more of people who are vegan or vegetarian and eat a lot of produce," Carillo-Bucaram said.

The cheapest option is the local share. It's a small box of only local vegetables for $25.

Carillo-Bucaram says she estimates the savings are up to 25 percent of prices at local grocery stores. She keeps an updated spread sheet of her prices for comparison.

"We created a price comparison chart to show people that you can still eat organic and in abundance and save money!" she said.

For more on the Rawfully Organic Co-op, click here.

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