-- Purple Dragon Co-op 289 Washington Street, Glen Ridge, NJ 07028
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What is a Food Co-op?
A Food Co-op is a group of families buying food together and sharing the labor involved to save money and/or to get better products or products normally unavailable in their area.

What is Purple Dragon Co-op?
Purple Dragon Co-op was formed in 1987 to bring natural foods into our area at prices closer to wholesale. In 1989, we began working to improve the availability of exquisitely fresh organic produce for our members. Janit London, a songwriter and veteran of many food co-ops, with 20 years’ experience in the Natural Foods business, designed Purple Dragon’s unique format, i.e., a new low-labor co-op model that works for today’s busy families.

I’ve Seen Other Groups Like Yours.
How is Purple Dragon Co-op Different?

Purple Dragon originated the idea of a mixed produce variety basket that has been copied all over our area and has become a national trend. We buy from many local organic and some ecological farmers and work closely with them to support their efforts to grow food in an ecologically sound manner in our own community.

We also shop up and down the East Coast, eastern Canada, the rest of the US, Europe, New Zealand, Israel and buy from certain farms in Central and South America and the Caribbean. When in doubt about a grower’s authenticity, we double check certifications with reliable sources in the industry. We work to provide you with the finest and most interesting variety of organic produce available.

We work constantly to refine and improve our service. We welcome your suggestions. We are also different in that we are the only group that is really a co-op. Our members actually work (see “How much do I have to work?”) This allows lower prices, better quality produce, and we get to meet people with similar interests in our area. It is also a chance to be closer to nature by handling the beautiful fruits and vegetables soon after they arrive from local farms.

Another difference is that we stand up for what we believe. We recycle all office paper, use only recycled paper, return crates to farmers and support environmental and organic farming associations, including the Organic Trade Association, CAFF, Sierra Club, NYCAP, NCAP, NOFA, American Farmland Trust, and the NJ Organic Farming Association.


How Much Does It Cost?
$50-56* per delivery, depending on where you live and if you are able to do dividing shifts or not. There are no dues or membership fees.

How Much Food Is It?
The amount of food in each delivery varies between 15-30 pounds. An example of a delivery is on the enclosed letter. The amounts of any one item are always reasonable — one or two lettuces, 2 1/2 pounds of apples or bananas, etc.

How Often Are Deliveries?
Every other week.

How Do We Get Our Food?
Every other week, after the food has been divided, you go to your local pick-up point, get your share, sign in on the sign-in sheet, and leave your check for next time.

How Much Do I Have To Work?
One person from a household works one hour every three months, locally, helping to divide the produce. Complete instructions are provided. We ask that you leave small children at home — they divide the food very creatively, but not necessarily fairly!

What If I Can’t Work My Shift?
You call other members to see who can switch with you, or pay a substitute, (friend, teenager or other member — usually $15) to do your dividing for you. Many groups with weekday pickups charge an extra $2 each time. This way, people who can do the dividing shift are credited $15 each, which they deduct from their payment for the next delivery. (They leave a check for $24* on the day they divide.)

What Happens If I’ll Be Away On A Delivery Day?
You find someone to pick up for you, or, weather permitting, ask the host’s permission to pick up later. You need to find someone to buy your share if you’ll be away for a longer stint. A neighbor, relative or friend may be interested in trying the Co-op by buying your share, or you may wish to give your share as a gift. Give the name and phone number of the person picking up your share to your Co-ordinator. If necessary, we may skip a delivery if many people at one location will be away at once.

What If I Need Extra Produce?
You may order bags of carrots for juicing, organic coffee, or other produce items by calling the office five days before your normal delivery day. These items are delivered with your veggies. Others in your group may want to share extra boxes of apples, oranges, potatoes or eggs (just a few examples) with you.

What If I Need Extra Fruit?
Fruit Shares are available for households which need additional fruit, and are designed to complement the fruit in the regular share. If your group gets fruit shares (at least four people participating,) they cost $17. If not, you can order a single fruit share for $20.

What If It’s Too Much Food For Me?
You can share your share with another person. We will try to help you find a share partner if you like.

What Other Products Can We Get?
Besides produce, we offer natural vitamins, juicers, water filters, natural shampoos, and more at substantial savings.

How Do I Join?
If we serve your area, you will find the name of our closest group host(s) on the enclosed card. Call that person and join if there is an opening, or get on their waiting list if there is no spot available at present. If we don’t deliver to your area yet, we can help you organize a group. If you host a group at your home, you receive a substantial discount.

I’m Moving To Nebraska.
How Can I Continue To Get Fabulous Organic Produce?

Purple Dragon can train you in our complete method for a home-based business. Please call or write for more information.

What If I Don’t Like It?
We recommend that you try three deliveries before deciding. You may leave the group by giving your host at least two weeks’ notice. You may rejoin whenever there is an opening, or you may occasionally substitute for other members by letting your coordinator know you are available for that.

*Depending upon how far away you are from other groups (how far the drivers have to go to deliver to your pod) and whether or not you take a turn dividing.

973-429-0391, info@purpledragon.com




Read more about us!

Sharing the Wealth (and the Veggies)
Edible Jersey, Spring 2012

“Wow! I just unpacked my bag, and I'm already thinking that this might be the best thing I've done for myself in a long time!! Thanks so much!”

—Gena, new member

“By the way, I want to say thanks for continuing to provide us with great quality produce for a respectable price. I have needed to buy additional produce to get me to the next Co-op delivery a few times and had to pay a lot for less than great quality at my local supermarket or I had to pay an arm and a leg for comparable quality at a specialty store. And the variety available was nowhere near what we get biweekly through the co-op. (Even at the nearby big chain Natural Foods store!!) Thanks again for your efforts.”

Chrissy Alba
(Westfield pod)

“You guys saved my life! After living in California where organic produce is so available and moving here where its hard to find, I finally found you!”
—Jennifer Bartle

“Being pregnant and not being able to shop is awful. Having this terrific food appear is just great. To get the whole box for $44 is amazing and the variety is wonderful!”
—Amy O'Connell

From a delivery just before a big snowstorm:
“Friday evening, Lisa and her husband Francois offered their apartment for the messy work of dividing. After we put our kids to bed, we started counting, weighing and chatting. Then we drank a bottle of amazing champagne. Talk about entering the Co-op spirit with a bang!”

—Kimberly Berzack