Organic Produce For Less

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Several weeks ago, I was scrolling through Facebook and I stumbled upon an ad for Imperfect Produce and noticed that it was launching soon in Dallas. As a frequenter of grocery delivery services (or should I say grocery delivery services frequent my house?!), I’m always looking for new ways to live smarter and stress less. Full disclosure, they gave me some credits for boxes, but this post is 100% unsponsored and unprompted. They are just doing something I think is really important in the industry and I think you should know about it!

SO what the heck is Imperfect Produce? Before I get to that, I want to share some statistics that they shared with me via the National Resource Defense Council, Wasted, Waste Land and more:

  • 1 in 5 fruits and vegetables grown in the U.S don’t meet “cosmetic standards” of grocery stores, often causing them to go to waste?

  • 800 - 900 tons of food each year rot because farmers can’t sell them due to imperfections

  • 20 billion pounds of produce go to waste on farms every year (even after items are donated to food banks)

  • 40% of food produced in the U.S. goes uneaten

  • When food is wasted, the precious resources used to grow it is wasted too. From the wasted food alone it used 21% of our freshwater, 19% of our fertilizer, and 18% of our cropland

  • When wasted food ends up in a landfill, it produces methane (a greenhouse gas) which is a contributor to global warming

  • The United States spends over $200 billion on growing, processing, transporting, and disposing of food that is never eaten

Crazy stats, right? I know!! Imperfect Produce is setting out to change that and encourage people to “eat ugly”. They deliver seasonal fruits and vegetables right to your doorstep AND at a lower price!! (about 30% less) It’s not just a box of random things either… you get to completely customize your box from size, type, produce and delivery. Let me break it down for ya.

  1. Sign up! You can get $10 off at sign up here.

  2. Choose your box. You can pick from mixed fruit and veggie box, all fruit box, all veggie box, and an organic box. (I picked Organic.)

  3. Decide your size. Choose from the following:

    • small: 7 - 9 lbs (O: $15 - $17, C: $11 - $13)

    • medium: 11 - 13 lbs (O: $22 - $24, C: $14 - $16)

    • large: 17 - 19 lbs (O: $33 - $35, C: $20 - $22)

    • extra large: 23 - 25 lbs (O: $39 - $43, C: $25 - $27)

      • I chose a small (and edited it a bit) - it included 6 carrots, 3 pears, 1 onion, 3 avocados, 3 yellow squash, a bunch of kale, 2 oranges and 2 grapefruit.)

      • O = Organic and C = Conventional (non-organic)

  4. Figure out frequency. Decide if you want to receive it every week or every other week. (I did every other week to make sure I use up all the produce.)

  5. Pick your produce. A couple of days before your delivery, you will receive an email from IP alerting you that produce for that week is up and you can customize your box. If you miss the window, no worries! Imperfect Produce will surprise you! Otherwise you can edit your selection. You can actually add more than your box price (you just pay the extra or less) and intermix organic with conventional. (Like I mentioned above, I switched some of produce out! You can see exactly how much each piece costs, so you’re aware if you’re over or under your “box price”.)

  6. Deliver to your doorstep. They tell you a day (of which you approve) and a time frame they will deliver and that’s that! Fresh and seasonal fruits and veggies delivered to your home. Plus, you don’t have to be home to get the goods! There is a $4.99 delivery fee, but I think it is worth $5 to not have to drive to the grocery store, plus you are putting your money where your mouth is and making an impact in the world.

The day we received our box, we had just gotten back from vacation and had nothing in the house to make a substantial dinner. One we received our produce, I made a quick pasta and salad dinner! I used GF veggie pasta and sautéed an onion, carrots, squash and garlic, then sprinkled with some parmesan cheese. For the salad, I grabbed some of the kale, drizzled it with juice from an orange slice, massaged it with olive oil. I topped it sliced some grapes for added texture. The only things that weren’t from the Imperfect Produce box were grapes, olive oil, garlic and parmesan cheese. Pasta might not be the ideal dinner choice for some of you, (I’ve gotten a surprising number of questions regarding how I eat pasta so much…), but it was quick, easy and I got my veggies in! It is all about #balance.

I’m striving to make a conscious effort to eat more vegetables (I have no issue with fruit LOL), so I know this box is already helping me consume things I wouldn’t necessarily buy, but enjoy. It also keeps it interesting with new ingredients! Nick and I cook a lot with recipes from our head (no cook book), but if you need a recipe, don’t let that deter you from this box. You see the ingredients ahead of time and can even pick the items, so just use the box preview as your meal prep starter and research how to use them / recipes you might enjoy!

Such an EASY process to get a box, am I right?! Don’t worry, you can also skip a week if you’re traveling or not going to be able cook for a bit. Okay so it seems simple enough, but what kind of produce will you actually get?! To be honest, none of mine were super crazy or anything like that. The kale was a bit skinny, the carrots were for sure a little scruffy, the avocados were tiny and the pears had a little scarring, but nothing that would deter me from eating them. (obviously) The produce that IP retrieves is rejected for several reasons. Here are some reasons your produce might have been rejected:

  • Size (For example too small avocados or too big onions, which don’t fit well in cases with others)

  • Asymmetry (Yes because of looks, but also because they sometimes cause issues with displays/don’t fit properly in the bins)

  • Scarring (Any aesthetic damage to a fruit or vegetable’s skin)

  • Unknown (If the consumer doesn’t know the product, the won’t buy it!)

  • Discoloration (Pretty self explanatory! If the skin has splotches of different hues or maybe it’s a different color from the rest of the bunch.)

  • Surplus (Too many!! A lot of times a “hot” item will stay in the fields and rot because it’s cheaper to do that than process it.)

What can I say? Elliot loved the Imperfect Produce box as much as I did!

I love everything that Imperfect Produce is doing! They are fighting food waste, saving you money, supporting farmers, conserving our planet’s resources and promoting a healthy lifestyle. On top of that, they also give back! All you have to do is take a picture with your favorite fruit or vegetable from the box, say why you “eat ugly” and tag @imperfectproduce. They will then donate 5 lbs of produce to a local food bank in your honor! Another way they give back is by offering a reduced-cost box for anyone who qualifies for SNAP benefits, truly making healthy food options accessible to everyone.

Another great thing they do is provide tips for users. One of my favorite things they do is share how to properly store fruits and veggies. Did you know that you shouldn’t store onions near potatoes because it makes them sprout faster?! What about the fact that apples, bananas and pears should not be stored with other fruit, as it gives off ethylene gas, which will make produce go bad faster. #mindblown They also share your own personal stats with you! So with the one box of produce I have received I have saved 10 pounds of diverted produce, 400 gallons of water, and cleared 34.1 pounds of CO2 out of the air.

Want to try it out? Imperfect Produce is available in the following cities: (as of Monday 3/11 Dallas was added!)

  • Seattle

  • Portland

  • Sacramento

  • San Francisco

  • Los Angeles

  • San Diego

  • Austin

  • Houston

  • Dallas

  • San Antonio

  • Milwaukee

  • Chicago

  • Indianapolis

  • Baltimore/DC

Have you tried IP? What did you think? Don’t forget that if you haven’t tried it, you can get $10 off here! ALSO, I think Imperfect Produce is in-tune with the whole body positivity message that is so popular right now. (As it should be!) Just because a food looks different than our “norm”, doesn’t mean it isn’t still great. Fruits and vegetables come in all shapes, sizes and colors… AND ALL OF THEM ARE GREAT! And taste great too ;)

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