Valrico Moose Lodge Part Of Cypress Creek Co-op Six Weekly Pick Up Sites

By Caitlin Masessa

There never seems to be enough time to get the weekly shopping done, especially with kids home for the summer.

However, if you’re a member of the Cypress Creek Produce Co-op, this is a worry of the past. Cultivated by Cassie Adams, the Cypress Creek Produce Co-op is a weekly service that puts together bins of fresh fruits and vegetables for you and your hungry family.
Working in the business of wholesale produce for almost six years, Cassie Adams noticed an excess of fruits and vegetables leftover after a day on the job.

“I would often bring home full cases of produce and share it with family and friends with plenty to spare,” Adams reminisced. Not wanting the good food to go to waste, Adams decided to share the healthy wealth by starting a Co-op in her neighborhood. “I utilized my neighborhood Facebook Page and asked if anyone was interested.” Adams continued, “Now we have 13,000 members on our page and anywhere from 600 to 1,000 orders a week.”

These orders, which come in bins, are prepared by Adams and volunteers. The contents of the bins rely on what Adams picks up at wholesale markets, local farms, and various buyers.

The week’s selection in the bins, which can be purchased in a medium size for $20 or a large size for $30, all depend on what is in season. After giving the bins out to the members, Adams makes sure to keep the needs of the community in mind. “We donate bins to anyone who needs a helping hand,” Adam spoke of the generous outreach, “At the end of each week we take the remaining produce and donate to local fire stations, an orphanage, and a list of families that need a helping hand.”

After two years of being in operation, volunteers estimate that about 200 to 300 people arrive at each pickup site to collect their bins, with the Winthrop/St. Matthews stop being the busiest. This boom in the Co-op business doesn’t just rely on the affordable prices offered by Adams, but also the health benefits that accompany the purchase.
“Fresh vegetables always seem to have more flavor here than they do in the grocery store,” Donna Hightower, who has been a member of the Cypress Produce Co-op for three months, said.

Although members come for the food, Adams noticed that they stay for the warmth projected by the community. “The way folks have taken sharing some fruits and vegetables and turned it into gestures of kindness and goodwill is inspiring,” Adams notes, “We have Co-op members who pickup extra bins just to drop them at their neighbors and volunteers who work an extra shift and donate their bin.”

To learn more about the Cypress Creek Produce Co-op, and to get a list of all their pickup locations which currently include Waterset, Cypress Creek, Sundance, Moose Lodge, Summerfield and Winthrop/St. Matthews, join their Facebook group at Cypress Creek Produce Co-op. There is a one-time fee of $5 to join the Co-op.

If you don’t have a Facebook page, but still want to become a member, email cypresscreekcoop@gmail.com to get a link to an order form as well as to ask any questions you may have.