Your Money: Produce co-op

RALEIGH Not even rain stops the co-op moms from joining the hustle and bustle in the bulk section of the State Farmers Market in Raleigh.

Armed with a master shopping list, they buy fruits and veggies in bulk for more than 20 families.

"We just happen to be a group of moms who all have small kids," Kirstie Marx said. "We all want to save, and we all want to be wise with the money that God gave us."

Marx makes sure she compares the price in bulk with the current grocery store deals.

"If it comes in cheaper here, then we'll buy here; if equal prices, then we tend not to buy so we have to keep up with grocery store prices as we're trying to save as much money as possibly can," Marx said.

The moms check out each box of produce.

"Whatever I won't spend my money on, I won't take it because again, I'm spending their money," Marx explained.

When one vendor doesn't have what they need, the go to another vendor.

And just how good are the prices?

A box of broccoli is $10. Each family that ordered broccoli pays $1.25 for two heads.

For sweet corn, each family pays $4 for 14 ears.

A box of peaches is divided and each family gets 13 peaches for $1.25.

"The prices are just phenomenal," Marx said. "Our food budget has gone way down."

In less than an hour, the shopping is complete. All the fruits and vegetables are loaded in their vehicles, and the moms are off to share their super savings with their group.

"It's a little work initially, but the pay off is great, and when you look at your counter and see your kids and husband eat them, it's so worth the money, so it's good," Marx said.

After they shop, they go back to one mom's house and divide the orders for pick-up.

The co-op shops every seven to ten days and spend anywhere from $350 to $700 depending on what's in stock that shopping day.

When you split that among each family in the co-op, it's about $20 to $30 per family, and they get a lot of fruits and veggies.

Starting a co-op takes a little work. For the Wake County moms, they split the duties with all the moms, so each mom takes a turn shopping every seven to eight weeks.

Click here to learn more about starting your own co-op

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