Imperfect “Ugly” Produce

In the U.S., we annually waste up to 40% of our food. This includes produce left in the field and not harvested, to consumers throwing food away, to grocery stores getting rid of imperfect or ‘B’ grade fruits and veggies. 

As consumers, we have been taught that our food should be perfect with few or no blemishes. This reflects our buying habits in stores and what we expect from small scale farmers at the farmers market as in local CSA shares. 

Too often on our farm, we compost or take for ourselves the veggies that are a little less perfect and blemished. In our weekly emails to our CSA shareholders (this includes FruitBox’s and Canner’s CSA) we include information and educational materials informing our shareholders about organic farming and how blemished food is ok to eat.

There is new research to suggest that fruits and veggies that have been stressed in the field may actually be more nutritious to eat than it’s perfect, unblemished counterpart. Check out this great article to learn about how this can happen. There is also a really great book called, “Eating on the Wild Side” that dives into this topic as well. 

As many of you know and are practicing, imperfect and squishy fruit can be made into delicious value-added products such as fruit leather, jam, juice, chutneys, pie, crumbles, and all types of booze. 

Here at The Green Urban Lunch Box, we are committed to rescuing and repurposing fruit and some veggies that would otherwise end up in the landfill. We partner with Mountain West Cider to make a delicious hard cider with our B grade apples. We will use up to 5,000 pounds of B grade apples this year just for this project! 

Our Canner’s CSA and other fruit partnerships are other huge contributors to finding value to fruit that would otherwise go to waste. Salt Fire Brewery in Sugarhouse just took 400 pounds of B grade plums to make a plum sour beer! We are currently looking for someone to partner with us to use all the B grade pears that we anticipate coming in. Reach out if you are anyone you know might be interested in 5,000 pounds of pears. : )