Fresh Produce Pre-Order Sales Began This Month In Bronson

In most small towns, fresh produce nearby is hard to come by, unless you grow your own.
Thaddeus and Kelly Perry have started a service that allows people to order fresh fruits and veggies ahead of time, then pick up at their Bronson store, Perry’s Pork Rinds and General Store.
Kelly and Thaddeus Perry, owners of Perry’s Pork Rinds. Submitted photo.
The store is located on Hwy. 54 that goes through the town, east to west. Bronson is in the rural western part of Bourbon County.
 The box of produce will typically cost $15 and have a variety of approximately 15 lbs. of fresh fruits and veggies,  with prices subject to change based on the cost of food.
Depending on what fruit and vegetables are  in season and what their pricing is, will decide what is in the boxes, Kelly Perry said.
For the next distribution of fresh veggies and fruits, today, March 13,
is the deadline for a March 17 pick-up order.
“This is something that is not only smart for our business to attract more foot traffic into the door, but also valuable for the community to not have to travel to get fresh produce,” Kelly said. “This fits in line exactly with what Thaddeus and I have always said, we will invest back into our community locally.”
Perry’s Produce is a Bourbon County community program designed to make affordable bundles of fresh produce regularly available in their town and the surrounding area.
“This saves residents time and money shopping while helping them eat healthier,” Kelly said.
This Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS)Pathways to a Healthy Kansas Initiative works with a program coordinator, in this case,  The Healthy Bourbon County Action Team (HBCAT), located in Fort Scott.
“(BCBS)Pathways to a Healthy Kansas Initiative works with  24 communities across the state of Kansas,”HBCAT President and CEO Jody Hoener said. The HBCAT and the Perry’s  worked together on ways to improve health in the community by awarding the Perry’s  a $20,000 grant for a five year commitment to the food program for rural citizens.

“The Healthy Bourbon County Action Team has worked since 2016 to build up and support local food systems,”  Hoener said. “We are thrilled to have Perry’s Produce as a partner in our efforts to increase access to healthier food options.”

With the  funds, they are purchasing grocery shelves that will have a larger capacity to hold even more groceries, pet supplies, home goods, toiletries and more so families do not have to travel into “town” to get something they need, saving them time and money, Perry said.
Shelving for produce distribution and storage, scales, and a printer/date labeler for the fresh grab-and-go salads, sandwiches and deli items, will all be purchased as a direct result of this grant.
The Perry’s, HBCAT and Pathways started researching a program, KSTATE’s Simply Produce program, around eight months ago via zoom calls and emails and in-person meetings.
The first distribution date of the produce was March 3.
“We distributed 61 bundles to members of the community,” Kelly said.  “There was a clerical error at the produce company and we ended up having to improvise, so some folks got double on certain items to still fulfill our end of the deal versus them not getting a bundle at all. There will be learning curves and this is new, so we are working hard to combat all of those curves.”
This is the  15 pounds of produce that was distributed in bags to those who pre-ordered for March 3 delivery. Submitted photo.
“We’ll try to source locally as much as possible for this program,” Kelly said.  “Some models are based on weight, others base off a set number of items in their bundles and we will work with this over the next few months to see what works best and gives shoppers the most bang for their buck.  Inside each bundle will also be a recipe card provided by K-State Southwest Extension District Snap Education.”
The bundles are currently being placed in reusable grocery bags provided by K-State Southwest Extension Snap Ed. Division, she said.
The produce bag. Submitted photo.
The  pre-paid bundles can be picked up over the next five years on the 1st and 3rd Friday of the month from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. during open store hours.
The bundles are $15 each, plus tax.
“ALL bundles are pre-ordered and pre-pay unless you’re an EBT/SNAP user,” Kelly said.
 “Due to regulations by the U.S. Department of Agriculture EBT/SNAP users cannot prepay for food. EBT/SNAP users can come in or call in and place their orders and pay on pick up days,” she said.
“Each buyer will get a receipt with their pick up date written at the top and we will print a second copy for the store and have the customer write their name and number on the receipt,” she said
“If you have not picked up your receipt by 2 p.m. we will call or text the number for a reminder,” she said. “When you arrive in the store, you will sign the book showing you came to pick up your order.”
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