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1

Size

Too small, too big,

too varied

After harvest, produce is sorted according to size, usually based on how many items fit in a standard case. For example, large avocados fit 36 to a case while mediums fit 48 to a case. Like a produce Goldilocks, supermarkets reject tons of produce for being too small or too large for their standards. We happily source the tiny avocados and cannon-ball sized onions of the world because they taste the same and are just as easy to cook with as “normal” sized produce.

2

Asymmetry


Too misshapen

Supermarkets want produce that fits evenly into display cases so they can build pristine, symmetrical pyramids to entice buyers. This desire for symmetry means that oddly-shaped produce is deemed inferior. For example, bell peppers that can't stand straight up are labeled second class, even though a bell pepper doesn’t actually need to stand up to go in fajitas. Leeks that are too curved, twin kiwis, and lemons that resemble muppets (LTRM) also get discarded because of their unique shapes.

3

Scarring

Too many marks

on the skin/peel

Supermarkets want to buy produce that looks beautiful and unblemished on the outside, which means that scarred fruits and vegetables often go to waste. Apples with hail damage, pears that brush up against a branch in the wind, and oranges that have had a rough winter don't make it to stores. They have to wait for a juicer or processor to show interest or else they'll go to waste.

4

Lack of a consumer market

Too unknown

Perfectly good food goes to waste every day simply because there isn’t enough demand for it. For example, our broccoli leaves are a healthy and delicious part of the broccoli plant that used to get left in the field because stores only wanted to buy broccoli crowns–even though the stalk and leaves are over 2/3 of the plant!

5

Discoloration

Too different in color from the average

Since stores value visual appearance, produce that isn't uniformly one color often gets undervalued and goes to waste despite having the same taste and nutrients as brightly colored produce. Uneven colors happen for a variety of reasons, from sunburned melons, to acorn squashes with a blemish from where they touched the ground, to bell peppers that just have a few naturally occurring splotches.

6

Surplus

Too many

Some of our produce doesn't have any cosmetic issues whatsoever and would only go to waste because there is too much of it on the market. It takes a lot of time, money, and labor to pick, chill, package, and ship produce, forcing growers to make rough tradeoffs. For example, if the market is flooded with kale or zucchinis, oftentimes they will get left in the field because it's cheaper than harvesting, storing, and shipping them to market. Now, farmers all over the country can give us a call, get a fair price for what they've grown, and feel good about their excess produce ending up in your home!