Last week I posted about Bountiful Baskets OLD food and GMOs.
The Bountiful Baskets coordinator was completely indifferent to my complaint about receiving in my organic basket lettuce “best used” 3 weeks earlier and she blamed ME for failing to inspect my box and accused me of lying about ordering the organic basket.
Since it’s impossible to reach anyone else at Bountiful Baskets, I contacted Earthbound Farm, the supplier of the old lettuce. They immediately apologized (it was NOT their fault!) and they sent me several coupons, one of which I already used on Earthbound Farm organic cauliflower and it was delicious. But I couldn’t find out how the old lettuce ended up in my Bountiful Basket. So as I was working in my hoophouse this morning, I noticed that the Bountiful Baskets box I had used to transport tomato plants to our farmstand yesterday was “packed by Kodiak Fresh Produce, Phoenix, AZ.”
Well, well, I think now I know what happened. Kodiak Fresh Produce packs for Bountiful Baskets and that’s how they get rid of old produce for CASH instead of giving it to the food bank.
I never heard of Kodiak Fresh Produce before, but according to their website they sell wholesale produce and apparently even deliver to various locations. I’d want to talk to them about getting some produce for our co-op if it wasn’t for this lettuce incident. I’m learning that purchasing high quality FRESH produce is VERY difficult and likely impossible unless we purchase directly from farms.
We’re looking primarily for FRESH produce and nobody provides a “date harvested.” Now that I had this at least one month old lettuce, I can see why.
You probably heard Budweiser commercials about their date born. From http://www.budweiser.com/en/us/content/king-of-beers/article/fresh-133-years-later
Born On Date
With a standard pull date, you never know when a beer was made – only that it’s no longer drinkable. Our “Born On” date tells you exactly when your Budweiser was brewed. It’s our way of ensuring that each time you pick up a cold one, it’s as fresh as it can possibly be.
Track Your Bud with a Born on Date to see the path a Budweiser takes, from farm to fridge.
Growing up in Germany, I definitely appreciate good beer. But I also appreciate good produce and if Budweiser can put the date on beer, why can’t we have dates on produce? The Earthbound Farm “best used” date is a step in the right direction, but I’d really like to know when my lettuce was picked. After all, the vitamins and nutrients don’t last forever.
So I requested comments about my lettuce investigation from Kodiak Fresh Produce in Phoenix at http://www.kodiakproduce.com/contact/:
REQUEST FOR COMMENTS RE PUBLICATION at http://highdesertpermaculture.org/blog/2013/05/19/kodiak-fresh-produce-packs-garbage-food-for-bountiful-basket/
I’ll update with their response. SHAME ON BOUNTIFUL BASKETS for not not caring at all!
I’ve heard that the Bountiful Baskets coordinators get paid per basket, so that may have to do with their unwillingness to acknowledge quality issues, although it obviously backfired when they defrauded me. And I don’t believe for a second that the Bountiful Baskets organizers don’t profit as they would have organized as a non profit or co-op if they did not profit from the sales. They would be a TRANSPARENT organization and CARE about the food they sell.
For a couple months I’ve been ordering from Bountiful Baskets in Dolan Springs and while we have been promoting Bountiful Baskets through our non profit, we now decided to stop ordering from Bountiful Baskets for several reasons:
1) Bountiful Baskets include GENETICALLY MODIFIED produce such as zucchini.
2) Bountiful Baskets food is OLD!
3) You can buy what’s in a basket at any supermarket for about the same price as long as you shop wisely (look for sales).
4) It’s impossible to discuss Bountiful Baskets website or quality issues and it’s ALWAYS the customer’s fault.
5) Either somebody is making a killing on this food fraud or the organizers are incompetent.
On 5/4/13 I picked up my organic basket and it contained this lettuce with the “best before” date 4/14/13.
I called the Bountiful Basket coordinator for Dolan Springs and she agreed that this was food bank quality, but accused me of lying about having ordered the organic basket. She also said it was my fault that I received this OLD lettuce because I failed to inspect all the produce in the box when I picked it up. “Nobody else complained!” Of course not, since I was the only person who ordered the ORGANIC basket.
Two weeks earlier I received TWO baskets because I didn’t receive an email confirmation for my first order and it did NOT show in my “contribution” history with my account online. Incredibly, it was not possible to contact anyone at Bountiful Baskets and my emails were ignored. The Bountiful Baskets phone number provided on my credit card statement was not answered and an announcement stated that the voice mail was not set up. I really wanted to support Bountiful Baskets, but the awful food quality, GMO food, lack of transparency and NO customer service whatsoever leave me no choice but to publicize this food fraud.
I also order from the Frontier Co-op and Azure Standard and they are the exact opposite of Bountiful Baskets with top of the line products and customer service. Recently I had ordered tomatoes from Azure Standard and every tomato arrived crushed. I called them up and it took no more than 90 seconds to get a credit. Bountiful Baskets is a giant ripoff for the ignorant masses.
Since produce does not usually have a “best before” date, they are getting away with this food fraud. I’d rather buy my produce at the supermarket until we can source organics or at least non GMO high quality FRESH produce for our members. I’d love to bring GMO free food and FRESH food to our community through a transparent organization – a real co-op.
Unfortunately Azure Standard delivers only once a month and we have to get additional sources of fruit and veggies we can not grow in our climate. While many people like the Bountiful Baskets with the surprise foods, it really does NOT work for gardeners. I have lettuce, chard, onions, mustard etc. in my hoophouse and I don’t want to waste my money on food that will be thrown away. Bountiful Baskets REQUIRES that you order a basket to be able to receive any of the additional items such as fruit or bread. Do you know any organic farms in Southern California or Arizona that sell in small quantities?
We have had quite a few offers from Meadview residents who occasionally travel to Southern California to bring food back. I’d love to do business with family farmers.
If you know of any other organizations that bring food to small communities or you would like to start one, please let me know. Update 5/13/13: I submitted my concerns regarding the old lettuce to http://www.ebfarm.com/about/contact and will update if/when they contact me.