MAIL-ORDER PRODUCE: “Imperfect Foods” and “Misfits”

I’ve been trying something new here, and I sort of like it.

About a month ago, I got wind of an outfit called Misfits Market and it sounded interesting.  The politically correct idea of this company is that they are sending out produce that was not “supermarket or organic food market quality” but was still good enough — as in, making one’s contribution to the idea that no food should be wasted.  The idea is that this company sends you a bunch of vegetables and fruit in a box for a prices which are probably a little cheaper than you would pay if you did your own shopping (especially considering that at least half of the produce was organic).  I ordered blindly, and received a box filled with a massive assortment of all kinds of produce. My initial impression was that it looked like those boxes of produce I used to get when I belonged to a CSA group – no way to know what would be in there, but, for sure, it would be a lot of interesting produce – enough to inspire the purchase of another recipe book!

Then, a week or so after I got that box from Misfits,  I received an email from another similar place called Imperfect Foods (I guess they were spying on Misfits).  This one has a similar mission, but you get to pick and choose from a series of lists, as to what you would like to see in your box.  I did not know that when I first signed up, so my box was similar to, but, I felt, somewhat better than, what I had gotten from Misfits.  Then, after I got another email from Imperfect Foods, I went to their website and discovered that, in fact, they let you decide what will be in your box, as well as how often  you will receive a box of produce.  That got me going, so I eagerly awaited the order period, which was from the Monday afternoon to the Wednesday afternoon of the week the box would be delivered.  So cool.  So I was there at 1:15 reading through what I could order. Since I had a lot left over from those aforementioned first two boxes, I made a kind of skimpy order and tried a couple of things I have never eaten – one was persimmons, but I don’t remember the name of the other one, also a fruit, maybe a guava? I will cut it open sometime this weekend and see if it looks like the pictures I saw on a Google search.

So, anyway, my box showed up this morning, decidedly emptier than the first one was, but still full enough to keep me busy.   

While I was unpacking it, I ate one of the persimmons: now there is an interesting fruit! It is cute, but, when you eat it, it has very little to no flavor at all, unless you count “sweet” as a flavor. Boy, was it sweet!  I have one more left, but it will likely disappear sometime in the next day or so.

So, anyway, I just wanted to talk about this experience in case you have never heard of it and you happen to be in one of the many places in the country where they ship to.

I feel that the prices are quite fair – in most cases, cheaper than what I would find in an organic market here in New York City and also cheaper than what I would be able to find in a farmer’s market,  You do have to be aware of the prices where you normally shop so that you can compare the prices and decide if it is worth it to you.  It certainly seems to be worth it to me, and the shipping charge is just a little more than the tax I would pay on my purchases in a brick and mortar shop.

In my case, I have also tried some pricey items that I have heard mentioned but have never been willing to pay the steep prices for,  Bubbie’s pickles and Califia Almond Milk.   Bubbie’s pickles did not immediately impress me – the first one I tried was just way too salty, yet, a couple of days later, when I cut a pickle into slices, it was a totally different experience.  I don’t know if I will make a practice of ordering Bubbie’s pickles, but now I know why so many raw food personalities recommend them as ingredients in their dishes.  The Califia Almond Milk was a total disappointment, though — first, they advertise that it is so natural and organic, but their ingredients label has some ingredients that are mostly alphabet letters and unpronounceable, and definitely not spelled almonds and water.  Red Flag!  (good! I can save money!)

Long story short: I will probably stay with Imperfect Foods for a while because it sort of encourages me to be more adventurous (a little, anyway) and it is one way for me to push myself to get to the kitchen and whip up some good food. 

If you like to avoid grocery shopping, or if you would like to free yourself from all of the impulse buying many of us like to do once we do get to the market, I think this is a very good way to curb produce expenditures and save some money in the bargain.


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