Inland Empire Organic Produce Buying Club

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IEOPBC is up and running again!

By:    (Aug 28, 2008)

I joined Inland Empire Organic Produce Buying Club (IEOPBC) in late April of this year, motivated by my commitment to support local agriculture, and of course by the desire to get the best quality produce available at the most reasonable cost possible.

I'm happy to say that IEOPBC has exceeded my expectations in all areas--price, quality and local sourcing. Since I'm a widow on a fixed income, cost is a major issue with me, but it's not the only one. You get "spoiled" very quickly eating organic fruits and veggies because they taste so much better than their conventionally grown counterparts. They seem so much more "alive" somehow, probably because they ARE! The legendary homegrown tomatoes are the classic example, of course, but it goes for other kinds of produce as well.

IEOPBC has recently experienced some growing pains, mostly because of our rapidly increasing member base and therefore the number of people who show up for the weekly pickups. So we were forced to suspend our pickups for most of July and August, while we acquired a business license and took care of similar red tape. I'm happy to say that these problems have now been solved and IEOPBC is up and running again!

Our first pickup after the hiatus was last Saturday, August 23rd. Over half the produce in that week's shares came from two local organic farms, and the rest was from an organic produce wholesaler. Since the tomato harvest is in full swing right now, one farm contributed a huge heirloom tomato to last Saturday's offering, and the other contributed a bag of very ripe and flavorful cherry tomatoes. There was also a basket of Driscoll's organic raspberries--have you priced those at Clark's or Trader Joe's lately? There was also kale, collards, a bunch of young carrots with tops and a LOT more!

So even though I have to take two buses from San Bernardino to Redlands with my little folding shopping cart, it's well worth the effort and the very reasonable cost involved to be part of this great co-op. Many thanks to our founding genius Alexis, whose dedication to the causes of wholesome food and strong community have sustained her (and us) past many recent roadblocks, to her husband and tireless assistant Rodney, and to our wonderful co-organizer Jei, who has acted as our representative with the city of Redlands and put IEOPBC on a sustainable legal footing. This group is truly an asset to the community.

--Linda aka Raksha


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