You may or may not have seen a story on my Instagram when I received my first box from Imperfect Produce, but I promised a review… and I’ve since had 3 more deliveries. After a month’s time I truly thought I would have a definitive answer — either “get it for sure!” or “the convenience isn’t worth it” — but for some reason… I don’t quite feel that way. Read on to learn about my experience and then you can decide what makes the most sense for your family!
The concept of Imperfect Produce is actually quite cool. Basically, you can save money — they say 30 – 50% but I’m not 100% convinced of those numbers though the prices are good — by purchasing fruits and vegetables that would be rejected by grocery stores but that are perfectly good to eat. A weird size (in my experience smaller than average for the produce I’ve received), odd shape, scarring, or difference in color are the main reasons why the produce would go to waste. Produce in surplus is another option. You choose what size box you’d like (which also dictates a price range), and then have the option to customize from there. There’s also “regular” produce or organic, and you can decide if you want fruit and veggies or just one or the other. And something I found really cool was that they try and get product from local farmers.
I kept it simple… I chose the small box which is 7 – 9 lbs and under $20 per week (unless you go crazy adding a bunch of items like I tend to do). They send you an email a few days in advance so you can customize your box — each week they have the items listed that will go in your box if you do not edit it, but you can subtract or add items if you’d like — and then it shows up at your residence.
Something I loved was that the items were delivered to my home… convenient right? Something I didn’t love was that in my area at least there is no choice in the delivery date or time AND because I live in an apartment building that has no access except to residents during the evening/night, on 1 occasion my delivery was left at the front desk even though the office was closed, on 2 occasions I received a text message around 9 and 10pm that the box was in the mail room (once sitting on a shelf and once just on the floor by the trash can…), and then most recently they somehow were able to put it into one of the storage lockers at 8pm but because I was expecting a text I didn’t check my email until the next day after running some errands only to find that my produce that should have been refrigerated was in a storage locker. The time range they give you is 12 hours (to be exact mine is from 6pm Thursday – 6am Friday) and I mean, who wants to be watching for produce deliveries in the middle of the night? Not me.
As far as the produce goes… it was honestly a little bit hit or miss. After my first delivery, I decided… clearly I shouldn’t order fruit from this company because it was quite banged up, but then on my 3rd delivery I completely forgot to go in and customize and when it arrived everything — fruit and veggies — was literally in perfect shape causing me to do a 4th order… and this last one was my worst yet. I liked that sometimes I’d see something on the list that I hadn’t thought to get in a long time (like artichokes) and then I’d have it again. But I really am sad to say, the produce just isn’t consistent. And for my second order it truly seemed like items went bad in a matter of 2 days which was quite frustrating, but then like I mentioned earlier, my 3rd order was brilliant. It was really more of a guessing game for me each time… and I’m not sure if I like that. Also, because the items offered are entirely dependent upon what the farmers have, it was a bit obnoxious when something was really delicious and then I’d try and order it the next week and it was no longer offered.
Maybe this post seems a bit scattered, but I want to make sure to share the good, the bad, and the ugly. The good was the convenience (probably more convenient if you live in a residence where the box can be dropped directly to your front door) and the inexpensive produce, the bad was sometimes the quality of produce and the delivery times, and the ugly… well I guess it goes without saying that the “imperfect produce” has to be the ugly side. For the cost I would say it is worth a try, but I can’t definitively give it my stamp of approval because I’m honestly unsure if I will continue with my weekly order schedule. Oh, that’s another thing… you are able to change the frequency of your delivery.
I absolutely love the idea of this company, and for the most part would say it has been a positive experience, but there is a certain peace of mind in picking out your own produce at the store… knowing how big an avocado is actually going to be — I seriously received the smallest avocados in existence — and even presentation-wise, what the produce will look like. However, you could certainly argue that saving 14.5 million pounds of food, 772 million gallons of water, and 42.3 million pounds of carbon dioxide could also put your mind at ease (or peace)…
If you’d like to learn more or order your first box today, click here.