I contributed for my first basket about a year-and-a-half ago while living in Renton, Washington. A friend of mine, Erin, pestered me about contributing for a basket for several months before I finally give her the $15 for a basket. My thought: “Is it really worth it to drive 20 minutes for $15 worth of produce? Really, how much produce will I get? What quality will it be in? Will it be anything my family will eat?”
It was a busy Saturday for my family: our second child was just a few weeks old – that Saturday was her blessing day, both sets of grandparents an uncle and an aunt were in town, our first child’s fourth-birthday party was that afternoon. Truly, I hadn’t given much thought to our produce basket until late afternoon when Erin dropped it by our house. My first thought: “All this for 15 bucks?”
As my mother, mother-in-law and two friends started digging through the laundry basket I’d given Erin, we were astonished at the amount of produce received, the excellent quality and terrific variety!
Flash forward a year and me, my husband, and our two young children now live in Stevensville, Montana. Our diets consist of meat (which we purchase from my father who runs a ranch), potatoes (which we picked from the field of a friend), and beans. In Montana the produce at the store is usually mediocre and limited in quality and expensive! I try, as much as possible, to include fresh ingredients in all our meals. Like most, we have a food budget that must be stretched as far as possible, often fresh produce is not quite as abundant and I’d hope.
One weekend, while picking potatoes from the field, I was telling my friend, Moriah, of Bountiful Baskets and the wonderful experience I had in Washington. She was immediately on board and wanted to participate and open her own site. One minor problem, there were only a dozen or so sites in Montana at the time – all over five hours from us. But, Moriah is a “go-getter” and took the bull by the horns! She and I worked together to open the first site in Ravalli County, Montana the second Saturday in January 2012.
Since that time, I’ve shared Bountiful Baskets with my family. My mother and aunt are the VSC and back –up VSC in Whitehall, Montana where my sister, brother, and numerous cousins participate. My sister-in-law has played a very integral role in the Spokane, Washington area being a back-up at a recently opened site. She is also moving to Alaska and hopes to be the first VSC in that state. My brother-in-law volunteers weekly at a site in Omaha, Nebraska. And my dear friend, Erica, is the VSC of a site in Des Moines, Iowa. Today, there are five towns in Ravalli County, Montana with Bountiful Baskets sites. Moriah and I have trained every one of those volunteer site coordinators and the back-ups! We have helped hundreds of families! Weekly we receive the paychecks of the heart from those who participate and volunteer with us! Thank you, Sally and Tanya, for all you do! My entire family has benefited from Bountiful Baskets Food Co-op and I am proud to be the face of it in Stevensville, Montana!
We are so glad you helped to get one started in Montana. Like you I always lamented the quality and selection of produce available in the Midwest that we could not get in Montana. We participate in Butte and because of BB we have an wide variety of good quality to go with our wonderful Montana beef.