This week I purchased produce from a word-of-mouth, grassroots organic produce co-op.  A friend of mine e-mailed me last week with a few details and the coordinator’s information.  It sounded like a good opportunity to get a variety of healthy fruits and vegetables at a reasonable price.  I e-mailed the coordinator asking to be added to her distribution list and to let her know that I’d like to place an order for this week.  She quickly confirmed and all was well.

Here’s the list of what was supposed to be in this week’s box:

1pt Strawberries
1.5# Apples, Cameo
1.5# Oranges, Valencia
3# Banans
1 Broccoli
3 Pears
1 Romain lettuce
1# Roma tomatoes
1# Cucumber
1# Butternut squash
1.5# Ruby red grapefruit
2 Hass Avocados
8oz Asparagus
1 Bunch collard greens
1# carrots
I say “supposed to be” instead of “was” because my order lacked the oranges, grapefruit and squash…  Otherwise it all looked wonderful and fresh.  Luckily the coordinator was willing to either deliver my missing produce to the pick up site or credit my account.  I asked for the credit since I don’t plan on making a special trip back up to the site.
My one experience with this co-op was not so great, however.  I kind of had this idea in my mind that the people running the show would be all happy, hippy, tree-huggers that were thrilled to have new people in their organization.  After all, the more people there are the more variety in the produce, the more people to help out with the sorting, etc.  This wasn’t exactly the case… It was not all rainbows and sunshine, my friends.
Part of the problem was my fault.  I’ll own up to not ready every. single. update. e-mail that came to my inbox.
Once I was added to the co-op’s distribution list I received several e-mails with details about the coming week’s pick-up and produce selection.  One of the e-mails detailed that pick-up was scheduled to be behind a little cafe in my town.  I knew where it was so I noted it for Tuesday (pick up day).  I simply did not read the sections on pick-up in any of the other lengthy e-mails because I figured I knew where the cafe was.
Pick up on Tuesday was scheduled from 2-3 PM at the cafe.  That particular hour of the day is smack in the middle of Cutie Pie’s nap time.  There was an alternate pick up time set up for 6:30-7:30 PM at the coordinator’s home but that’s our dinner hour.  Nap time or dinner hour.  Dinner hour or nap time.  Neither one was appealing but I opted to push Cutie Pie’s nap up a little bit so we could make the 2-3 PM time.  Besides, the cousins were coming to play at 2:45 PM that day anyway.
So, I piled the kiddos into the car with their sippy cups of juice and we headed over to the cafe.  Turns out the city was doing construction on the road that I needed to turn down.  So I did this crazy u-turn, off-road kind of thing and backtracked to another road that took me behind the cafe.  Of course, the sketchy alley behind the cafe was vacant because I didn’t read the most recent version of the pick-up information…  Since I didn’t know where to go, I went to the back of the cafe and asked an nice man to kindly direct me where to go.  He walked me over to the abandoned store next door where both the back and front doors stood open.  There were no lights on, the floor was concrete, it was a little freaky.  Only the coordinator and some guy were there sorting produce when I arrived.  This where it turned kind of not so great.
I explained to the coordinator that this was my first time buying from the co-op and I thought that pick up was behind the cafe.  She sort of sighed, rolled her eyes, then launched into a speech on how her last e-mail clearly stated that pick up was in the front of the abandoned store next to the cafe this week.  She was all THE DOORS ARE WIDE OPEN SO NO ONE WOULD GET CONFUSED…  I just kind of looked at her.
Then she introduced herself.
When I said that it was nice to meet her, introduced myself and tried to shake her hand, she refused.  she muttered something about dirty hands from sorting vegetables.  Then she proceeded to wipe her hands off and take my money.  Awesome.
I asked her where my box was because I paid the additional $4 for a plastic tote and there were plastic totes everywhere.  She again sighed, vaguely pointed to a spot behind me and said it’s over there WITH YOUR NAME ON IT like I was an imbecile.  My box was in the back row on the corner of a table off to the side of the room.  It was not obvious where my stuff was.
So, I grabbed my plastic tote and made a beeline for the alley and my car.
What the heck was that?
I compared my experience with a friend’s recent experience with the same co-op and they were remarkably similar.  Sweet.
I’m going to give them one more shot because maybe the coordinator was having a bad day and because I have a credit for my missing oranges, grapefruit and squash.  If it goes as well as my first experience, I’m out.
P.S.  Does anyone have a good recipe for collard greens?  I have no clue what to do with mine…

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Put Some South in Your Mouth « Adventures of Four
  2. onescrappygal
    Mar 09, 2010 @ 23:39:35

    I JUST read this post and all I could think was “oh HELL NO!”

    When do you go back for your second trip? I suggest a strongly worded e-mail about her attitude and suggestions on how to deal with the paying masses if your second experience is just as bad.

    Is the friend that had the bad experience the same one that told you to give them a try?!


  3. Trackback: A Trip to the Farmers Market « Adventures of Four

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