Proud “Nominate a Goodie” Partner
Local fruit-and-vegetable purveyor, Sarah Schladweiler, spends all her Saturdays distributing her goods.
Schladweiler loves bringing savings combined with health benefits to the customers who participate in the Bountiful Baskets program.
“For me, the time that I put in is well worth it,” she said.
Produce envy led to her participation in the Bountiful Baskets program, she admits. Her sister is a purveyor of Bountiful Baskets, an Arizona-based company that sets up bulk buying systems and delivers across parts of the U.S. After three trips to Southern Oregon, Schladweiler was trained and ready to serve her own customers in Salem.
“Every participant puts in $15, and that money goes to purchase fruits and vegetables, basically a big bulk order per site,” Schladweiler explained. “Everyone also pitches in $1.50 to help pay for credit-card processing and gas for the truck.”
As a diabetic, Schladweiler knows firsthand the importance of eating fruits and vegetables. Her last three-month glucose reading dropped half a point because she began reaching for her Bountiful Basket goods before any processed food.
“Overall the quality of items has been higher than what I can find in the produce section of the local grocery store,” she said. “And the savings are fantastic, too!”
Schladweiler figures the program saves customers roughly 45 percent over store prices.
“We never know what we’re going to get,” she said of the baskets. “It’s like Christmas every Saturday morning.”
To date, Salem has about 65 participants. Each site serves up to 96 baskets, so Schladweiler said Salem’s program has room to grow.
“The program is fun,” she said. “I like the variety, and I love the people. Knowing that I am helping people eat healthier, and putting healthier meals on the table makes it worth it.”
Once the baskets are distributed, leftovers are donated to area fire halls.
“So far, the fire halls I have gone to loved the baskets,” she said. “A couple of firefighter families are participating now.”
Participating is as easy as purchasing a basket online at www.bountifulbaskets.org starting on Mondays. Salem baskets are ready for pickup at the Our Savior Lutheran Church on Baxter Road in South Salem. Baskets must be picked up between 11:30 and 11:50 a.m. in the gymnasium.
“It’s great if everyone helps out once in awhile,” Schladweiler said. “It’s fun to divide up the produce, working together as a team. I have plenty of volunteers, and it’s great!”
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