We don’t live in a perfect world, but many of us try to. In fact, the search for the perfect dress, the perfect mate, the perfect car, the perfect job, the perfect skin, the perfect everything occupies much of our time. It is so deeply ingrained in our consciousness that it has become the standard by which we measure our dreams and aspirations. This perfection, this condition or state of being as free as possible from defects or flaws, is fundamental to our society and even applies to the fruit we eat.
For years farmers have been struggling with how to make our fruits and vegetables more attractive, and through genetic engineering, scientists have even been developing ways to make our produce appear more perfect and therefore, more desirable. We want the biggest, reddest, juiciest apples without any bruises or blemishes even though it makes no difference in taste when used in a pie. And we’ll pass over those small misshapen blueberries to get our hands on the large, plump, round ones simply because they look better.
This demand for perfection, has led to a shameful amount of food waste, especially in the United States. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, food waste is estimated at between 30-40 percent of the food supply which corresponds to approximately 133 billion pounds and $161 billion worth of food. In addition, this amount of waste has far-reaching impacts on food security, resource conservation and climate change:
• Wholesome food that could have helped feed families in need is sent to landfills.
• The land, water, labor, energy and other inputs used in producing, processing, transporting, preparing, storing, and disposing of discarded food are pulled away from uses that may have been more beneficial to society – and generate impacts on the environment that may endanger the long-run health of the planet.
• Food waste, which is the single largest component going into municipal landfills, quickly generates methane, helping to make landfills the third largest source of methane in the United States.
How can we combat this wantonly wasteful relationship we have with imperfect food?
A number of small environmentally conscious companies have seized upon solving this dilemma by selling less than perfect produce. They “rescue” imperfect produce direct from the farmers, box it, then send it straight to your doorstep. And lucky you saves up to 50% on your produce bill. They also have organic and consciously sourced options!
For example, one company investigated had three different sized boxes to choose from with the smallest box, the mini, delivered to your doorstop containing:
• 1 head organic lettuce
• 2 yellow squash
• 1 head of cauliflower
• 1 cucumber
• 4 peaches
• 2 mangoes
• 1.5 lbs. French red fingerling potatoes
• 4 plums
All of the above mini package costs anywhere from $15 to $20. You can select weekly or bi-weekly options for delivery and you can change the frequency of delivery at any time. You can also customize each box to meet your meal requirements or you can get a grab box of produce and build your meals around the contents.
They may not be the prettiest produce in the world and some of them are downright ugly, but you can’t BEET the prices!
1. United States Department of Agriculture. U.S. Food Waste Challenge.
2. Hungry Harvest.com