Organic for less

Hungry for a reliable source of affordable organic produce, Janit London founded Purple Dragon Co-op in Glen Ridge more than 20 years ago, way ahead of the organic foods curve.
Organicforless
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Hungry for a reliable source of affordable organic produce, Janit London founded PURPLE DRAGON CO-OP in Glen Ridge (973-429-0391, www.purpledragon.com) more than 20 years ago, way ahead of the organic foods curve. London’s group now boasts more than 1,300 families throughout the New York/New Jersey area.

Purple Dragon delivers produce to “pod” leaders every two weeks. “A pod consists of about 15 families,” London says. Pod members each work an hour every three months to help sort and divvy up each order. (A typical delivery is 15 to 30 pounds per family.) That keeps the cost at around $50 per individual order. “They buy their produce in bulk, and save even more by sharing the labor of sorting each order,” says London, who adds that a summertime order might include apples, collards, dill, red leaf lettuce, snow peas, mushrooms, eggplant, tomatoes, broccoli, carrots and potatoes.

The co-op currently serves six pods in Monmouth. Tamara Tallman, leader of the Neptune pod, started by splitting a share with a friend eight years ago. “I’m thrilled with the freshness and overall quality of all Purple Dragon’s produce,” says Tallman. “I’ve comparison-shopped the same items locally—they’re not only more expensive, but the quality just isn’t as consistent.”

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