Volunteers help co-op members fill their bins with the week’s selection of fruits and vegetables.

The Cypress Creek Produce Co-op has found a new weekly distribution point in FishHawk Ranch. It has partnered with The Chapel at FishHawk near Park Square to create a weekly pick-up location for fruits, vegetables, fresh-baked breads, honey and more.

The co-op has been in operation for two years with multiple pick up sites across S.E. Hillsborough County and owner Cassie Adams has had many requests for a FishHawk location.

“We’ve had so many residents asking us to bring our co-op to FishHawk and we finally found a perfect location right at The Chapel of FishHawk in the heart of the neighborhood,” said Adams who also distributes wholesale produce and came up with the co-op idea after finding a surplus in wholesale produce available.

With the co-op, Adams and her fellow admins on the Cypress Creek co-op Facebook page post a listing of what fruits and veggies will be available in the weekly bin and customers order either a medium or large bin through a Google Docs form.

Payment is collected upon pick-up and there is a one-time registration/join fee to join the co-op of $5. Currently medium bins are reserved for $20 per week and large for $30 per week. The picks up are typically in 2.5-hour windows one day per week.

For The Chapel at FishHawk, the pick-up is Thursday nights from 5:30-8 p.m. An assembly line is set up and co-op members bring totes or bins to collect their produce and go down the line to assemble their allotment. Volunteers, including students, can earn Community Service Hours and earn free bins for their weekly help.

“Now we have 18,000 members on our page and anywhere from 600 to 1,000 orders a week,” added Adams who was very happy with the first week of more than 130 produce orders for FishHawk on it’s first week in April.

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.

“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.”

In addition to the bins, co-op members have the opportunity to add-on fresh breads, locally sourced honey and extra produce.

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

The Chapel at FishHawk is located at 6026 Churchside Dr. Lithia, Florida 33547. visit www.thechapelfh.org for more.

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Marie is the Managing Editor at the Osprey Observer. She covers news, transportation, education and likes to make a positive impact on the community and be 'in the know'!