GLEN RIDGE — With the high price of organic produce in some stores, it is possible to think that it is only for the wealthy. Organic products can be made more affordable by joining a food co-op. Buying locally raised food also saves energy resources because the food is trucked only a short distance. Organic and ecological farming use natural means to prevent insect infestation, thereby protecting our environment. Food co-op members save money by buying together and/or contributing labor to save on overhead.
Regional organic farms are beginning to harvest favorite summer treats such as corn, basil, cooking greens, peas and richly flavored old-fashioned varieties of peaches and nectarines. This is the perfect time to freeze or can these foods. Purple Dragon Co-op, based in Glen Ridge, buys fruits and vegetables from small, regional organic growers and distributes them to over 1,300 member families in New York and New Jersey.
Purple Dragon was started in 1987 by singer-songwriter Janit London as a way to bring high quality organic produce into the area for a small group of mothers and their families. During the past 24 years, the co-op, which organizes neighborhood groups, has grown to over 80 groups of families. Neighborhood groups can be formed wherever there are interested families. The host household earns a $40 discount each delivery, which can help a family afford good, organic food.
Purple Dragon invites anyone interested to call or email for information about joining a neighborhood “pod.” Group members get a bimonthly market basket of organic fruits and vegetables from small regional farms and other sources at prices close to wholesale; the boxes often include a more interesting variety of produce than one can find in other area markets. Members can also “special order” cases of fruits or vegetables for canning and freezing, or to enjoy fresh. More information is available at www.PurpleDragon.com.
New Jersey neighborhood groups meet in Allendale, Annandale, Atlantic Highlands, Barnegat, Basking Ridge, Belle Mead, Bergenfield, Boonton, Bridgewater, Caldwell, Chatham, Convent Station, Cranford, Edison, Freehold, Glen Ridge, Highland Park, Hoboken, Jersey City, Kenilworth, Kinnelon, Leonia, Long Valley, Madison, Manasquan, Maplewood, Matawan, Midland Park, Millburn, Montclair, Morris Plains, Morristown, Neptune, Newark, New Providence, Oceanport, Pompton Plains, Randolph, Red Bank, Ridgewood, River Vale, Rutherford, Scotch Plains, Somerville, South Orange, Sparta, Spring Lake Heights, Stirling, Succasunna, Summit, Teaneck, Tinton Falls, Toms River, Union, Wayne, Weehawken, Westfield and Whippany. New York groups meet in Cortlandt Manor, Croton, Dobbs Ferry, New City, Nyack, Pearl River and Staten Island.
Each member receives a seasonal assortment of fresh, organically or alternatively grown fruits and vegetables, approximately 20-30 pounds, from local sources whenever possible, every other week. “Shares” cost $47-$53 per delivery. There are no membership fees. The order size is suitable for families with at least two adults, and for families with children. Call the Purple Dragon office at 1-973-429-0391 for a free information packet, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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