Want to do right by the environment and save a few bucks while you are at it? Then consider purchasing less-than-perfect produce. At least that’s the philosophy behind Imperfect Produce, a California-based company trying fight food waste in San Antonio by bringing its “ugly” fruit and vegetable delivery service to Alamo City on August 27.
Founded by Ben Simon and Ben Chesler, the company was started as an offshoot of Food Recovery Network, a nonprofit Simon founded as a student at the University of Maryland to help prevent campus food waste. The two Bens eventually realized they could make the greatest impact by sourcing cosmetically flawed produce from farmers and selling it to directly to customers.
According to a release, billions of pounds of produce are rejected every year from grocery stores who demand uniform and unblemished products. Since being founded in 2015, Imperfect has helped reduce that number by delivering 30 million pounds of popular items like carrots, broccoli, and apples that might have otherwise been left to rot.
Since there is no middleman, the company is able to offer the produce at 30 to 50 percent less than the normal grocery store price. The website allows users to customize the shipments according to their needs with several available box sizes and weekly or bi-weekly shipments with prices that range from $12-$18 dollars per delivery. Unlike most community-supported agriculture boxes, customers are also allowed to choose from the available selections — a boon to families with picky eaters.
The service helps farmers, too. Since they can’t control nature, Imperfect allows them to sell more of their harvest after stores like H-E-B snag the prettiest crops.
Initially, the delivery area for the service will be focused on downtown and nearby neighborhoods like Alamo Heights, Terrell Hills, and Olmos Park, but the further coverage areas will be rolled out after the initial launch. Those interested can enter their ZIP code on the sign-up page to check availability.
Still need convincing? Imperfect is inviting San Antonians to try out the service at an even cheaper rate. Using code SAT50, newcomers will get half-off their first delivery — something that will make that strawberry shortcake a little more sweet.