It’s a well-kept secret that misshapen produce ends up in the garbage before it even reachers grocers, which is pretty depressing if you think of all that perfectly good food going to waste. But I was excited to find that a few new companies are starting to change that practice by selling “ugly produce” directly to consumers.
Top image: Imperfect Produce
Related: How to store produce to keep it fresher all year round.
Companies like Imperfect Produce, Misfits Market, and Hungry Harvest all deliver less-than-perfect-looking or “rescued” produce that might otherwise be thrown away, and they’re often cheaper than what you’ll find at the grocery store.
These companies offer different levels of customization for produce boxes — Imperfect Produce lets you choose each and every veggie, while Misfits Market and Hungry Harvest send you a mix of what’s in season — so you’ll want do a little research to find the best option for you.
Two of the companies, Imperfect Produce and Hungry Harvest, donate to charities that fight hunger, so you can feel extra good eating your bulbous carrots and double-stemmed mushrooms.
Wondering what you get, and just how “ugly” your produce will be? We can help!
Check out Kristen’s live unboxing of Misfit Market’s ugly produce in a video on our private Recipe Rescue Facebook group (originally a live @CoolMomEats Instagram video) so you can really see what’s in there. She got some perfect avocado with “ridges” in the skin, a lot of broccoli, a dozen oddly shaped turnips, some limes that weren’t perfectly green (though one seemed to be bruised), sweet red peppers, a huge if slightly blemished squash, some tiny apples, lots of winter veggies like red potatoes and beets, and a whoooole lot of parsley.
Tabouli for days, right?
Related: How to preserve herbs: 5 quick and easy methods to avoid food waste and save money.
Her order also came with lots of recipes, should you not know just what to do with all that parsley. (Seriously, there was a lot of parsley!) And it was packaged in a compostable box, mostly loose — just a few plastic produce bags. Take a look (just join our private Facebook food community for access) and it may help you decide if this is right for you.
I love the idea personally, because I’m trying to cut down on my own food waste and eat more sustainably overall. I think it could even make a good CSA alternative if those aren’t available in your area, aren’t affordable, or require too much of a commitment.
Check out ugly produce services including Imperfect Produce, Misfits Market, and Hungry Harvest to see if they’re available in your ZIP code right now.