Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The Joy of Ugly Fruit and Vegetables

I didn't have a picture of the produce but I did have a picture of this 
chocolate zucchini bread I just made with produce from the box.

I had been seeing them all over the internet for weeks, misshaped carrots and potatoes with googly eyes staring back at me from the ads for Imperfect Produce.  Though the concept intrigued me, selling produce that was not perfect at a discount to keep it from the dumpster, I didn’t jump on the idea at first.  I was not sure about the cost and if it would be cheaper than how I already bought produce; here and there, paying attention to sales and discounts and I didn’t know if it would fulfill our produce needs.  We are a fresh food heavy house. I am often buying six red peppers at a time to keep up with the kids’ intake as well as pounds of apples, onions, celery, and carrots. 

Back in May, I decided to see if this would work for my family.  I really liked the concept and wanted to help keep perfectly good food from going to waste.  I was sure the Imperfect box would not keep up with all of our vegetation needs, especially since they are working with what they have not what I need, but I knew I could cancel if it didn’t work.  To start out I ordered a medium box. It was easy to sign up and I was informed my delivery day was Wednesday.  Wednesday came and the kids and I were excited to see what came in the box.  We received a pound each of apples, carrots, lemons, onions, and potatoes along with pears, oranges, corn, cauliflower, tomatoes, cucumbers, and avocadoes.  It was fun to open the box and see so much delicious food inside. The box was just under $20 including a $4.99 delivery charge.  Since the delivery charge is the same no matter the box size, I upped our order to the extra-large box for our next order, excited to receive an even larger selection of produce.  We receive an extra-large box every week, which averages around $30 and fulfills most of our produce needs.

Getting a box of random produce is great for our family.  I am more creative in the kitchen, changing recipes around to work with what I have, and I get to eat vegetables that I often will not buy either due to price or because I know I am the only one who will eat them.  Imperfect Produce does offer the ability to customize what fruits and vegetables come in your box; so, if you absolutely hate Brussel sprouts, you don’t have to have them in your house.  For our house, we customize to balance our vegetable consumption with our box (we had a plethora of carrots there for a while) and nixing things like parsley and kale that grow readily in our kitchen garden or zucchini and limes which will not be eaten.  Beyond that, I like keeping the assortment as is, making chocolate zucchini bread when we had a zucchini that disguised itself as a cucumber, radish potato soup when I found out you can cook radishes, or cooking with natures sugary little treats to make honey date walnut scones.

How ugly is the produce?  Not very in all honesty.  Some of it is surplus, other pieces have minor imperfections or the size is too large or too small.  We have had a few bruised peaches, and some cucumbers that we needed to eat faster than we were prepared for, but not anything that is all that different from buying food from the grocery store.  My daughter loves the variety of fruit we have in the house now (not just apples), and my son is excited about new vegetables like beets and Brussel sprouts.  I am curious to see how the box will change as we progress through the year. Our grocery bill has seen a slight decrease, probably more due to being creative in the kitchen, but I’ll take it. 

If you want to try it out for yourself use this link to get a $10 credit https://www.imperfectproduce.com/register.php?referral=376712 (referral link)

Thanks for reading,

Sarah McTernen

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