Embracing Imperfection

Rarely do New Year’s resolutions resonate with me. Striving to improve one’s health, wealth, or general shortcomings are admirable goals, but the annual effort always feels so contrived. The calendar shouldn’t be the push for these efforts; as is proven year after year, that reminder typically affects change for a month, at best.

2017, however, already seems different. High on my list of personal ambitions is to let go of the perfection fallacy and embrace the beauty in all that is conventionally deemed “ugly.” Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder, and I’ve found a whole lot to love in the trend towards buying otherwise unloved, ugly produce. Lemons with blemishes; apples that are too small to meet a buyer’s standards; gnarled carrots that refuse to stand up straight. Otherwise delicious fruits and vegetables are discarded in favor of their immaculate, but often tasteless, brethren.

Imperfect Produce is making big waves in the supply chain to change all that. Delivering boxes on demand directly to consumers’ doors across the bay area, they’ve only been in operation for a little over a year and have already rescued well over 750,000 pounds of otherwise wasted food. Those numbers are no small potatoes (although they have plenty of those to share, too) and promise continue growing at a rapid pace, as they’ve recently announced plans to expand into Los Angeles.

This is where I need to go off script and say that this is not a sponsored post and I did not receive anything for free. I was simply inspired by the mission of this once-small startup, and am beyond thrilled to spread the Imperfect Produce appreciation. When I realized that their warehouse was just a short walk away, I high-tailed it out there to see where all the ugly goodness comes from, and I was welcomed with open arms.

Browsing through the line of workers busily packing food into their designated compostable boxes, the real tragedy is that among the immense stacks of produce, I could hardly pick out any truly unsightly specimen within. Perhaps it’s a case of excess supply or insufficient demand, but some of these were truly stunning edible gems, deemed unfit for sale for reasons no ethical eater could comfortably stomach.

Resolve to do more for the local community, your diet, and your bank account by simply eating uglier. You’ll spend a fraction of the cost that these fruits and vegetables would otherwise command at conventional grocery stores, and better yet, you’ll skip the lines at checkout. If that’s still not enough to convince you, go ahead and take 50% off your first box with the code “SPOON” at checkout. Pick exactly what you want from the current seasonal offerings and trust that no matter what it looks like, it will always be brilliantly fresh and delicious.

The delivery range is limited to us lucky Californians at the moment, but I think the overall message is one we can all get behind for the coming year. Celebrate all of life’s imperfections, no matter what form they may take.

20 thoughts on “Embracing Imperfection

  1. An excellent way to make sure that local producers get paid for all of their produce and that the whole community benefits. Another excellent post Ms Hannah. It’s posts like these that shine out and give us all hope :)

  2. It’s fantastic to see a company bridging the gap between what would otherwise be wasted food and consumers who don’t care if their apples are the “right size” to fit in a packing box or their tomatoes look pretty. I’ve been working in the produce department at a local co-op for a couple of years now, and you’d be amazed how much “cull” we have to pull in. The bright side is, they let member workers take the produce home — and I’ve been blessed with literally tons of food because of it. What they don’t use, they compost or let workers take home to feed their animals. I wish more companies like Imperfect Produce would pop up around the country to bring this food not only to consumers but also to city missions, shelters and other places where it could get to people who don’t have access to healthy, fresh food otherwise.

    1. They buy directly from farmers. It’s all produce that would be otherwise rejected by grocery stores which means it would pretty much be left to rot in the field. That also means that it’s super fresh: No nearly-expired produce here!

  3. Lucky Californians, indeed! What a sweet idea; I hope they have much success and that their start-up turns heads and makes people think twice before rejecting “imperfect” produce.

    Also, you offer a wise conclusion to your post. How inspiring! Thank you : ) Happy New Year to you and yours.

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