Ugly is the new delicious according to Misfits Market, a Philadelphia start-up that introduced Americans to organic produce delivery boxes in 2018. Founder Abhi Ramesh started the delivery service after spending the day on a Pennsylvania farm picking apples with his friends. A farmer had come around and was picking up the misshapen spotty fruit and placing them in a container. Curious about where these fruits were going, Ramesh asked the farmer.
He replied like any farmer: He saved them and tried to sell them at the farmers market but ultimately most of the fresh produce that didn't look "normal" ended up in the compost or fed to the pigs. It was Ramesh's first experience learning about food waste and he immediately started to research how he could reduce food waste and produce a product that was great for both the consumer and producer alike.
Thus the produce subscription was born, bringing organic fruits and veggies to Americans at a fraction of the cost. And just like the local farmers market, the produce is unique in shape, size, and color, rather than the machine-cut look of the grocery store.
My Honest Misfits Market Review
In the beginning, the subscription box consisted of two box sizes -- The mischief box (which fed ) and the madness box (which fed ). There was no customization in the Misfits market subscription. Every week your produce box was a complete surprise, which for some was exciting, but for others, led to more food waste.
How Much Does a Misfits Market Box Cost?
Recently the subscription service has changed to an online grocery shopping model, giving the subscriber a choice on what they want in their box, including pantry items, meat, and even dog treats. The grocery delivery is set to be delivered on a certain day each week and members must spend $30 to receive a box that week. Want to skip the produce delivery service for a week or make it biweekly? Simply keep your cart empty and you won't be charged for your usual delivery date.
I was given a $100 gift card from Misfits Market to review the service and was overwhelmed with how much product I was able to purchase. It's been 3 weeks and I still have pantry staples and meat in the freezer.
There are also always deals to get discounted items on your first order or first box if you are curious to try it out yourself! The delivery service is rather large, making it great for areas that are food deserts or if you are too busy to purchase from your local farmers' market.
Where Does Misfits Produce Come From?
While it might not be completely local to your delivery area, Misfits Market sources all their produce from regional farms that are certified organic and non-GMO. They also heavily work with farms that do not have the infrastructure to sell or move their imperfect produce on their own. They also rely on seasonality, so you'll find turnips in the spring, bell peppers and tomatoes in the summer, and sweet potatoes and butternut squash in the fall.
What Do You Get in a Misfits Box?
Here is a list of everything I got in my Misfits box. My only shortfall is that while it takes care of most of the grocery shopping, you'll still need to head to the store to get staples to make all your favorite recipes.
This is what I recently ordered:
- 1 Organic Jumbo Gold Beet $1.82
- 1 Organic Jumno Red Beet $1.82
- Thick Cut Boneless Pork Loin Chops, 13 Oz $6.60
- 2 Organic Yellow Nectarines $1.83
- Organic Mango Fruit Strips, 12 Oz $4.06
- Organic Garlic Scapes $2.02
- North Atlantic Cod, 12 Oz $8.12
- 2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast, Mixed Pieces, 14 Oz $7.10
- Organic 100% Grass-Fed Beef Ribeye Steak, 10 Oz $11.18
- 2 Organic Small Hass Avocados $2.02
- 1 Organic Romanesco $3.04
- 1 Organic English Cucumber $1.82
- Lundberg Farms Rice Chips, Santa Fe BBQ, 6 Oz $2.02
- Creamy Peanut Butter Filled Pretzel Nuggets, 7 Oz $3.04
- Popcorn, Parmesan Cheese, 4.4 Oz $2.33
- Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, 12 Oz $3.04
- Theo Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup, 1.3 Oz (2 Ct) $2.02
- Theo Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup, 1.3 Oz (2 Ct) $2.02
- Organic Mixed Olives, 6.2 Oz $3.24
- Amy's Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce, 25.5 Oz $4.06
- La Molisana Elbows, 1 Lb $1.31
- Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Time, 20 Ct $2.02
- Celestial Seasonings Bengal Spice Herbal Tea, 20 Teabags $2.02
- Sweet Potato Dog Treats, 5 Oz $4.06
- Organic Kanzi Apples, 2 Ct $1.72
- Organic Strawberries, 1 Lb $4.06
- Organic Limes, 5 Ct $1.82
- Organic Pineapple $3.04
- Organic Red Cherries, 1 Lb $4.57
A lot right?? The pricing is pretty unbeatable and the high-quality produce arrived with ice packs. The only issue I had was with the Romanesco. It was a tad moldy when I unpacked it. I had never had it before and was looking forward to cooking with it.
Other than that, I have nothing but good things to say about the service since they've switched to a new shopping model. In fact, when I was looking at their website today I noticed a new "Bakery" section as well as more pantry staples such as flour and baking powder.
Do "Ugly Produce" Grocery Services Really Help with Food Waste?
I admit I was skeptical at first. Farmers are known for their ingenuity and for using every part of a crop or animal. Ugly produce items have been used in products such as applesauce, where the shape and size of the item don't matter. However, many smaller farms don't have the luxury of a solid infrastructure to get their product from the farm to something as beneficial as food banks. The amount of money it takes to ship the produce heavily outweighs the cost of the food, making it difficult for smaller farms to donate their extra food.
"If anything, I see us building the infrastructure between growers and food banks. We're aggregating all of the supply between hundreds of different farms so we can provide that pipeline and donate a portion to food banks," Ramesh shares in a blog post on Misfits Market.
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This post was originally published on August 17, 2021.