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Can you Spot the Imperfection? This Fall’s Quirkiest Produce

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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

produce: quirky and imperfect tomatoes
Looks pretty plump to us.

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

produce: too small and imperfect strawberries
We’re saving a pallet a day of these delicious strawberries!

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

scarred and sunburned plums
Sunburned or sunkissed?

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

Green grapes with a hint of amber tint
Honestly, can’t even tell.

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.

11 Comments

  • Taryn Biggs
    September 18, 2021 at 1:21 pm

    I stopped using Imperfect Foods for awhile just out of from forgetfulness. But this was a reminder of why I joined, I care about the environment, about local farmers, and about food waste. Thank you for this article to serve as a reminder of sent we need Imperfect Foods. Going to add all the items to my cart. #SaveThePlanet #SaveOurFarmers

    Reply
  • Denise Tolson
    September 22, 2021 at 9:02 pm

    I so happy that use imperfect food. Had a little problem. Things eventually worked out ok. The discount I receive as senior with low income it helps me a great deal. Thank you imperfect produce

    Reply
    • Imperfect Foods
      September 29, 2021 at 2:19 am

      Thanks so much for the love, Denise!

      Reply
  • Denise Tolson
    September 22, 2021 at 9:08 pm

    I am so happy. that I use imperfect produce. Had a little problem. Everything eventually was ok. I receive a discount as I am a senior with low income. I enjoy all of the food that I order. Thank you imperfect produce.

    Reply
    • Imperfect Foods
      September 29, 2021 at 2:18 am

      We’re so happy to hear it! 💚

      Reply
  • Wyjuana
    September 23, 2021 at 2:13 am

    I’m glad to be educated on the fact that what the grocery stores consider imperfections are really no big deal. Plus I do know that bigger produce doesn’t always equal sweeter or otherwise better tasting. This is why I love Imperfect foods! I get to try new things, get excellent quality and save the environment!

    Reply
    • Imperfect Foods
      September 29, 2021 at 2:18 am

      Thanks so much for always trying new things with us! 💚

      Reply
  • C. Miller
    September 30, 2021 at 8:06 pm

    I appreciate all the vegan foods offered. Anyone sincerely concerned with the environment will be glad to see those choices are possible with Imperfect. It’s a 4 way win – health, planet, animals and farmers, plus less waste. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Imperfect
      October 1, 2021 at 9:42 pm

      Yes! We love offering kinder options to choose from! And we appreciate fighting food waste with you so much! 💚

      Reply
  • maureen
    November 7, 2021 at 10:55 pm

    I can’t quite figure out what one purchases at this site. Do you know in advance what you are getting? I can’t eat foods containing gluten, but “gluten free” was not an option when asked what my dietary preferences are. The closest I could come was “low carb.” Someone on nextdoor recommended this company and my product doesn’t have to be gorgeous, but I do need to know what I’m going to be eating.

    Reply
    • Imperfect Foods
      November 18, 2021 at 12:36 pm

      While we don’t have a designated GF add-on pack, we do have tons of gluten-free items and allow you to fully customize each order so you can make sure you’re only paying for what you’ll be able to use and enjoy! Here’s a quick guide to how customization works: bit.ly/33janF3 🙌💚

      Reply

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