Correction: The version of this story that ran in the Monday, Nov. 7, edition of the Havre Daily News listed the wrong dates for the next Bountiful Baskets sign-up period.
As many parts of the state saw their first snows of the season, an ice-encrusted truck brought pallets of produce including bananas and kiwis to Havre’s first Bountiful Baskets dropoff.
The Bountiful Baskets program offers participants baskets full of fresh produce for $15, with special add-ons including loaves of bread or organic baskets for varying fees.
While the program offers up to 100 baskets per location, Havre’s first week distributed 72, which, according to the program’s Havre director, Jessie Fuzesy, is the largest opening week in any of Montana’s 28 drop-off sites.
“It went really, really well, ” Fuzesy said. “It was better than I expected.
“Everybody got their baskets, and everybody seems really happy with them. ”
After inclement weather delayed the truck a bit on its way from the west, the produce arrived and each order — including apples, bananas, tomatoes, cabbage, zucchini, kiwis and fennel — was organized and quickly dispensed to the large line of people waiting to fill their own empty baskets with the bounty offered.
Fuzesy said that, while she expected it to be popular, she didn’t necessarily believe it would happen so soon.
“I knew that Havre would really like the program, ” Fuzesy said. “It’s nice to see such a big turnout so quickly. I worked really hard to get the word out, and a lot of people spread it. It’s good to see that it’s going to be successful. ”
She also said that the program is great for Havre not only because of the quality of the produce and its affordability, but also its potential to expand the diets of Havre residents.
“It’s really hard to find good healthy produce at an affordable price, ” Fuzesy said. “You can go to the grocery store, and you’re going to pay an arm and a leg for a tomato or a watermelon. Whereas, here, you can get it all here for a cheap price. A lot of it is stuff we wouldn’t normally get here, figs and fennel that we got today that people just don’t know what to do with yet, but hopefully this will get us to venture out a little bit and experiment with our food. ”
The drop-off will happen every other week at the District IV Human Resource Development Council on the southern end of 5th Avenue. Signing up for a basket begins on the website bountifulbaskets.org on the Monday before the drop happens and stays open until the next evening. The next opportunity is on Monday, Nov. 14, at noon and ends on Tuesday, Nov. 15, at 8:30 p. m.
For more information before then, interested people can contact Fuzesy at email@example.com.