Bountiful Baskets brings fresh produce to Dunn County

Hollie Kuntz thinks her community should eat healthier.

A volunteer at the Killdeer Bountiful Baskets pick-up site sorts bananas into the baskets. (Photo by HOLLIE KUNTZ)
A volunteer at the Killdeer Bountiful Baskets pick-up site sorts bananas into the baskets. (Photo by HOLLIE KUNTZ)

By BRYCE MARTIN

Herald Editor

Posted March 29, 2013

Hollie Kuntz thinks her community should eat healthier.

And she’s doing something to make it easier.

In November, Kuntz started a Bountiful Baskets Food Co-op site in Killdeer, which serves as a nonprofit, volunteer-driven location to pickup fresh and local produce.

When she began the local site of the national co-op, which serves locations throughout 21 states, Kuntz distributed about 30 baskets. With only word-of-mouth advertising and a Facebook page, Killdeer now receives around 70 baskets of produce.

“There is room to grow,” Kuntz said.

She had been contributing to the Bountiful Baskets location in Dickinson when she came to enjoy the idea of a fresh food co-op. But traveling more than 30 miles didn’t exactly make the produce “local.” When she realized others from the area also drove to Dickinson to pickup their baskets, Kuntz decided to start a location in Killdeer.

“It’s been amazing,” she said.

An objective of the co-op is to share the importance of eating better and fresher. And it’s a simple process, with contributions – or orders – made online and produce baskets then picked up locally.

But stay-at-home mother Kuntz, 32, believes there is more to Bountiful Baskets than some fresh, leafy vegetables and ripe, colorful fruits.

“If you’re new to the community, this is a great way … to meet new people,” she said. “I’ve lived here for five years, but I really didn’t know anyone. This has been an excellent opportunity for me to get to know many more people in the community and get more involved in helping my family eat healthier.”

It’s important to note that Bountiful Baskets is a completely not-for-profit entity. Organizers go so far as insisting using the word “contributing” in place of “ordering” and “participants” instead of “customers.” It’s a process that relies 100 percent on volunteers and there is no income involved.

Kuntz said she generally receives help from 10 to 15 volunteers during each basket distribution.

The delivery truck carrying the bountiful produce arrives at Killdeer’s pickup site every other Saturday morning, around 11:30 a.m. An hour earlier, volunteers have arrived, shared some conversation and begun preparations to receive, sort and distribute the baskets.

“If I didn’t have the volunteers that came in and helped me every week, there’d be no way that we would be able to have this in Killdeer,” she said. “Everyone seems very supportive about it. We have families that have come every week since they’ve started contributing.”

All the contributions for the baskets return to the co-op, strictly used to increase the sizes of the baskets.

“The more baskets that are contributed for, then the bigger the actual basket will be,” Kuntz said.

Participants go in blind when choosing a basket, unaware of exactly what will be inside. The contents of the baskets change each time and it solely is based on what is available. That way, participants never know what they’ll receive. Baskets generally, however, contain six fruit items and six vegetable items.

Inside last week’s baskets were bananas, pineapples, Russet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, lettuce, oranges, grapefruit and cucumbers.

While the namesake product is most popular, Bountiful Baskets occasionally also delivers individual goods, including breads, ethnic/specialty produce packs, pantry items and deserts.

Around the holidays, Bountiful Baskets offers a hostess pack, which is what they did last week for the Easter holiday – the pack has extra produce specifically for that holiday.

A $15 contribution will secure a traditional basket, which equals roughly $40 to $50 worth of produce. A pre-packaged organic fruit and produce box is available for $25.

“If you’re on a budget, it’s a great way to budget and save money,” she said. “I had somebody that, right around Christmastime, priced out her organic box, went to Wal-Mart in Dickinson and priced it out and she saved herself almost $40.”

The only way to make a contribution and receive a basket is to visit www.bountifulbaskets.org, which explains the directions on how to contribute.

The next ordering date is April 1. Contributions are accepted beginning at noon and participation in Killdeer goes until 10 p.m. Tuesday, or whenever 100 baskets are sold.

Dickinson’s location sells out of their 100 baskets within five minutes, Kuntz said, so it could very well be in one’s best interest to quickly make their selection of a basket.

And when it is time to pickup the basket – inside the lunchroom at Killdeer Public School – make sure to bring something to carry all that produce in.

“They call it bountiful baskets, but when you come to pick it up, you’re not actually taking the baskets home with you,” she said.

Contact Bryce Martin at bmartin@countrymedia.net.


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