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Reno-Sparks CSA & Co-Op Produce Baskets

Sometimes, when you’re a busy mom and are already hitting up the grocery store multiple times per week (with 4 kids in tow), it’s nice to get great, organic, local produce delivered right to your door.  I recently started having produce delivered straight to my door, and I am in love!

There are quite a few “basket” type food co ops in the Reno area.  Some deliver, some don’t.  Some are more flexible, others are more “set”.  Some do fruits & veggies, others do just primarily veggies.  Some allow you to add on extras, others are “as is.”  Really, there’s something for just about everyone.

Since picking a basket was such a hard decision for me, I figured a little breakdown of some of the local food co ops/CSA’s (community supported agriculture) would be helpful for others considering the same thing.

1.  Blue Basket Organics– Blue Basket Organics is run by a local mom.  She uses all organic produce, and uses food primarily from Nevada, California, Oregon, and Washington.  You can choose between three sizes of baskets- a peck, a half bushel, or a full bushel.  This one is set up in 3 month “seasons” for commitments.  They deliver to your door, and you do not need to be home for the delivery (leave a cooler on your porch).  We’ve tried this program and really enjoyed trying new things (who knew I’d like lemon cucumbers and swiss chard?!?).  The downside (for a planner like me) is that this one just shows up with whatever they have that week.  I had a hard time knowing what I would get, or if I would need more of a particular item.   For someone who doesn’t have time to go and pick up extra produce or spend time logging into the computer to arrange each weeks deliver basket, this is a great option.  It just shows up!  If you are easy going with your menu and want great tasting produce, this is a great option.  You can choose weekly or bi weekly deliveries.

2. Basket Case Organics-  Basket Case Organics is probably the most flexible basket service, but does require some time each week to login, settle your basket, and pay.  You know what’s coming ahead of time, and can choose to remove certain items or add others.  Each item has a cost listed next to it, and your basket price changes as you change your items out.  You can also choose to just take what they have set up for you.  If you’re looking for a basket program which gives you some control, and don’t mind the time to log in each week, this is the basket for you.  They offer three sizes- bitty box, bountiful box, and a colossal box (for comparison, the “bountiful box” with no changes compares in size to Blue Basket’s “full bushel”).  Again, no need to be home for delivery.  They will leave a large storage tub with an ice pack on your porch.  These guys do use local produce, but it’s not all local.  When picking your basket items, you’ll see a “LOCAL” label next to the items that are from local farms.  I’d say about 1/3 of my basket is usually labeled “LOCAL.”

3. Great Basin Basket CSA- Great Basin Basket CSA primarily gathers its produce from Lattin Farms.  You do have to pick up your produce from one of their designated locations in Reno, Sparks, Carson City, Fernley, or Garnderville.  You can choose from early season baskets, late season baskets, or both.  Baskets range from $27-$29 per week, and there is a commitment term (if you start late, they do prorate).  A huge benefit of this one is that it is grown here in Nevada!  This basket primarily uses food from Lattin Farms, which is certified organic, but they do gather from other local, family farms that may not be certified organic.  I have not done this basket, but from their website, it appears that it is more veggie heavy, though they do have melons and berries in late summer.

4.  Bountiful Baskets- Bountiful baskets is a nation wide food co op and is not “owned” by anyone.  It is all volunteer based, which really helps keep the cost down.  You “buy in” on whichever weeks you want a basket.  There are no long term commitments, which is great especially if you aren’t always going to be home on pick up day.  You do need to pick up your baskets within a fairly small time frame on a particular day of the week, which can be difficult for some.  There are several pick up locations in Reno, as well as one in Minden and Carson City.  You can choose from “traditional” produce for $15 a basket, or upgrade to “organic” for $25 a basket.  This group also has various “add ons” each week.  If there’s an over abundance of apples, for instance, they may offer huge bags of apples for very cheap that week.

These are my four favorite options for baskets in the Reno area, and my family has personally chosen to stick with Basket Case Organics for now.  For me, I like the flexibility of being able to take out certain items (like the clean 15) and add more of the items I want organic (dirty dozen).  This helps keep my ever-growing, six mouths to feed budget down.  I also have the option to easily “skip” a week as necessary, and can plan my menu with a bit more ease since I know what’s coming.  I do have time during my week to “take care” of my basket, so the added time is not a big deal (and in comparison to taking 4 kids to the store it’s still a time saver!).

Also, watching my children wait for their produce basket on delivery day is so fun!  If you’ve never given it a try, I highly suggest it.  It’s great produce, supports local families and farmers, and is so convenient.

There are also a handful more CSA’s available to Northern Nevada residents, and you can find them on Edible Reno Tahoe’s website.

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About Jessica Locke

Jessica Locke
Jessica Locke is a wife and stay-at-home mom of four children ages 5 and under. She is a new homeschooling mom who swore she’d NEVER ever even possibly consider homeschooling her children. She loves finding creative ways to stretch her small budget, drinking chai, writing, and eating anything with a peanut butter and chocolate combination. You can check out her latest thoughts on life as a mom, creative tutorials, activities for kids, and easy recipes on her blog, “Mothering With Creativity.”

One comment

  1. Jamie Schnell

    thanks for this breakdown! super helpful 🙂

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