You’ve probably seen some delicious but exotic looking produce in your boxes recently, delicacies like mangoes, avocados, melons, and pineapples that your fruit-starved brain hasn’t seen since summer. It’s okay to ask: where is this fruit coming from? In this week’s post we are answering all of your questions how and why we source ugly tropical produce from outside of the US.
- Food waste is a global problem: The first and foremost reason that we include tropical produce in people’s boxes (besides the fact that it’s delicious) is that food waste is a problem all over the world. The US isn’t the only country where ugly produce goes to waste and so we want help wherever and however we can. In the wintertime this means buying up scarred avocados from Mexico and scrawny mangoes from Ecuador so that they can find a home.
- Food that has travelled such a long way deserves to get eaten: All of the tropical items that we source have already been imported to the US, traveling hundreds if not thousands of miles only to face a food system that judges fruits and veggies by narrow size and color specifications instead of by flavor and health benefits. We believe that with a higher carbon footprint comes an even bigger responsibility to waste as little as possible.
- Size is no reason to let good tropical fruit go to waste! We’ll let you in on a secret: the majority of our tropical fruits don’t end up in grocery stores because they are too small. For example, big supermarket mangoes are normally classified as 6 or 8 count, meaning that 6 or 8 of them fit in a case. Our mangoes are what is known as 10 or 12 count mangoes. They have the same great taste and nutrition as their supermarket cousins, they’re just smaller!
- The world isn’t kind to tropical produce. We hear about sad produce stories every day and do our part to help make them have happy endings. For example, our supply team recently got a call about a shipment of crown-less pineapple whose buyer had backed out at the last minute. Sitting in a dock warehouse, missing both its crowns and a buyer, this regal pineapple was bound straight for a landfill until Imperfect intervened. Thankfully, these pineapples found a new throne in countless kitchens across the Bay Area!
At Imperfect, we like to remind ourselves every day that each piece of produce has a story, involving dozens of people and even more miles. We believe that the best way to honor this story is by appreciating its complexity and ensuring that it doesn’t end in waste. So, next time you are holding a piece of tropical produce, pause and think about how you want the story to end before savoring every bite!