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Joining the Tri-Community Co-op: Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How and what do I pay?
A: Email us to sign up. Please read all of the FAQ before emailing to sign up.

The cost to join the co-op is $66. This includes: $11 for your 2 laundry baskets, $30 for your first basket, and $25 for the membership fee. Thereafter the cost is $30 for each basket. It is always CASH ONLY at co-op when paying for your basket and extra items (eggs). We buy the produce in bulk from farmers ahead of time, so part of the money you pay when you sign up goes toward your first basket. Each time you pick up a basket, the money you pay goes to the next one. If you decide to leave the group then you will collect your last basket and owe nothing, as you will already have $30 in the kitty.

Q: Can I pay by check or credit card?
A: Please bring CASH ONLY to pay for your basket and any other items you are purchasing.

Q: Where do I get my basket?
A: We provide the baskets. Each basket costs $5.50. Using the same baskets makes keeping them all together much easier and efficient.

Q: Where does the produce come from?
A: Small family farms using sustainable growing methods in Phelan, Pinon Hills, Redlands, Newberry Springs, Cherry Valley and Northern San Diego County.

Q: What will be in my basket?
A: Produce according to season. Luckily, we live in Southern California and we have a year long growing season. Lots and lots of citrus in the winter, greens and avocados are mostly year-round. Check out the basket list below to see how a January basket often looks.

Q: Can we choose what goes into our basket?
A: The director purchases items for the basket based on availability, ripeness/taste and price. We purchase as a group in order to get the best deals; we do not make individual purchases. That said, you are able to trade unwanted items from your basket and choose additional items from our extras table. You are always welcome to make suggestions based on previous baskets. We love input!

Q: Do I have to sort my own basket? What do I have to do?
A: Volunteers sort the produce we pick up into individual member baskets. You are invited to participate, but it is not required. Volunteering can be a great experience… make new friends, get recipe and storage tips from others, and get first pick of the extras. We have formed a community that has a great time choosing to eat good food. You can also post recipes to our forum or pick up baskets for members who can't come to pick up.

Q: How much will be in my basket?
A: Here is what was in one of our January 2014 baskets:

Fuji apples
Navel Oranges
Meyer Lemon
Bacon Avocado
Baby spinach
Brussels sprouts
Red potatoes
Onions - white or red

Extras only:
Bunching onions - red
Butternut squash
Grapefruit - Oro Blanco
Green onions
Lettuce - Romaine/Red Leaf
Persimmons - Fuyu
Sweet potatoes - Asian

Q: Wow! This is a great deal. How do you get this stuff so cheap?
A: :) We purchase together as a group. We can get more stuff for less because we have developed relationships with local farmers and they lower the prices for us since we buy in larger numbers and have been doing so for the past seven years. It can be challenging for farmers to make a profit at farmer's markets, but with co-ops they can count on consistent purchases from a large group of consumers.

Q: Can we get eggs?
A:Yes. We buy them from farmers here in the high desert. The chickens are free range and are fed with organic feed and produce.

Q: When is the pickup time?
A: Pickup time is 9-10:30 am, every other Friday. See the Schedule for dates.

Q: I work and can't make it to the pickup time, can I still be a member?
A: Of course! We can find someone to pick up your basket for you. Some of our members choose to volunteer this way. Contact us for more details.

Q: I'm not always in town; I don't eat that much; etc, but I want to join, what can I do?
A: You can choose to join with a friend and share - or we can hook you up with another member of the group who wants to share.

Q: Do I have to be a member to participate?
A: Yes. You must be a member to participate or have express permission to attend a co-op. Send us an email to join.

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