The beauty standards of the US have started to take place on our grocery store shelves. “Ugly” produce often never makes it to market shelves and when it does it often goes un-purchased and tossed aside.It’s said that 30 - 40% of the food supply in the United States makes it way to the landfill. That’s over roughly 130 billion pounds and the single largest component to municipal landfills, making it the third largest source of methane gas in the country. The zero waste movement tends to focus it’s efforts on reducing food waste by composting, which is an important step for keeping inedible food scraps out of our landfills. But what about the produce that never makes it to our pantry in the first place? I recently stumbled across Misfits Market, essentially a subscription box that provides you with pounds of otherwise deemed unsellable produce at a discounted price.
There are currently two options to choose from, cleverly named ‘Mischief’ and ‘Madness’. The Mischief box offers approximately 10 - 12 pounds of fruit and vegetables for a subscription cost of $19.00 plus shipping. The Madness box offers roughly 18 - 20 pounds of produce for $34.00 plus shipping.
We opted to purchase the Mischief box to determine how much produce was actually received before adhering to a subscription and we were pleasantly surprised by the amount and variation of items. Some items we typically don’t purchase (but wish we did) at our regular market simply because of the cost.
What We Received
1 large cucumber
1 small/medium butternut squash
6 small white onions
2 small heads of green and red lettuce
1 small head of butter lettuce (with roots attached and which I am now regrowing!)
4 small oranges
2 large mangoes
1 clove of garlic
2 small green peppers
1 package of blueberries
roughly 1 dozen mushrooms
*note, the produce is seasonal. Meaning you may end up with duplicate items from box to box.
The website doesn’t offer much information regarding how their boxes are packaged and delivered. I was hopeful that a company focusing on decreasing landfill food waste would be equally as conscientious about their packaging waste and thankfully I was right. When I first opened the box my immediate reaction (and very loud response to my husband) was “What’s with all the plastic?!” but upon reading the inserted leaflet I learned it wasn’t exactly what I thought.
Of course the box itself it reusable and recyclable but I also found a large ice pack, cooling insulation, and some produce tied in separate bags. The large ice pack I popped into my freezer to reuse in my husbands lunch bag over the summer. But am I to constantly save them? Do I really need, or want, that many ice packs? The remaining cooling insulation is referred to as ‘Green Cell Foam’ and is produced using a cornstarch base. Similar to the cornstarch packing peanuts, the foam can be removed and dissolved in water. Just recycle the rest! The produce bags are BioBags. I still don’t think these are absolutely necessary but understandable for some smaller items, such as the mushrooms. These are fully compostable through your municipal composting service but won’t do so well in your backyard or indoor worm compost.
The remaining plastic from the blueberries, lettuce, cucumber, and cabbage isn’t ideal but still a long way from the amount of plastic found on your grocery store shelves. Unless that happens to be a bulk store. Can anyone tell me why exactly cucumbers are often individually shrink wrapped?!
Pros & Cons
Everything offered is organic. Personally, I don’t typically buy organic produce because it’s not as cost effective but this makes that not only manageable but doable.
You can choose what day you wish to have your box delivered. We normally do our shopping on Sundays so we opted for a Saturday delivery to then plan the rest of our weekly menu and grocery list.
Sent some vegetable you’ve never heard of and don’t know what to do with it? Their website offers a blog featuring different recipe ideas. Plus, Pinterest! (Currently trying to figure out what to do with the acorn squash we received this week.)
Cost effective. The amount and types of produce we received would have been roughly the same if not more expensive at a regular retail grocery store, especially since they were organic. You can also factor in the cost and time of physically going to the store.
You don’t have the option to choose what is sent to you. There are other similar services that do let you choose particular items and quantities. Though, it’s kind of a fun surprise to see what you might get!
They don’t currently ship to all states. That seems to be a work in progress.
So what do you guys think? Is this something you think you’d try? We were so pleased with our first box and opted on the every 2 week subscription option to ensure we are able to use everything up in a timely manner.