This story was featured in our Imperfect Almanac.
As usual, we’re baffled to see the epic bounties of perfectly delicious produce that grocery stores deem undesirable. But thankfully at Imperfect, our produce buyers can see past imperfections to spot sunburned grapes that are still great, under-sized strawberries that are sweeter, and incredible heirloom tomatoes (no matter what their shape). So check out our top imperfect produce picks for the season and their juicy stories.
Heirloom tomatoes that aren’t enormous enough
When it comes to heirloom tomatoes, ordinary grocery stores demand only the great big juicy ones. That’s because they’re sold by the pound. So the bigger the tomato, the greater the profit for the store. But this doesn’t exactly lead to huge profits for the grower who gets left with loads of smaller tomatoes that they have to leave in the field or sell to processors way below market value. That’s why we’re working with our friends at Coke Farms to offer their small but beautiful heirloom tomatoes at a price that benefits you and the grower. Enjoy these beautiful organic heirloom tomatoes in our favorite summery Gazpacho recipe.
Strawberries on the smaller side
Right now, we have slightly small but sumptuously sweet organic strawberries from Good Farms, an EFI certified grower located right outside of Santa Barbara. Their sweet and small berries typically go to waste because conventional grocery stores prefer the big, plump berries, regardless of their taste or the effort and resources used to grow them. So Good Farms is packing these small berries especially for Imperfect and saving about a pallet a day of strawberries by doing so! Enjoy your super sweet strawberries in a vibrant Japanese Sando or sip on them in this Refreshing Strawberry Basil Lemonade.
Not-so sellable sunkissed pluots
For folks in the West Coast, South West, and Midwest, we have pluots from Wild River, an independent, family-owned organic farm outside of sunny Sacramento. Their pluot trees are some of the oldest and most delicious in California, and they saved the best (in our opinion) for us. They’re sending us their scarred, sunburned, and misshapen pluots in fun varieties such as Flavor Granade, Black Kats, Dapple Dandys, Honey Punch, and Flavor Rich. These pluots are just as delicious as the perfect-looking ones at the grocery store, but not as sellable.
Green grapes with a hint of amber tint
In Woodlake, California, one of our growers had two problems. It was running out of water, and their crop was a little too sunburned to be sold in stores. Thankfully, our produce buyers know that green grapes with a little sunburn and amber discoloration are actually sweeter, so we partnered with this grower’s vendor to offer their organic Timpson grapes to our nearby customers. We were able to help the grower harvest what would have been left for waste, which is even more critical during times when resources like water are scarce.