Hungry Harvest runs a CSA with a twist. They bring you recovered fruit, vegetables, and more that otherwise would have been used to feed animals or just sent to the dump. They donate their own surplus to anti-hunger organizations. In Raleigh, they donate food to the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle. (Good choice!) Hungry Harvest also runs Produce in a SNAP markets in food deserts, offering similar food at a steep discount. The Hungry Harvest website says:
To date, we have provided access to 100,000 pounds of affordable produce & donated over 600,000 pounds more to our donation partners!
Expansion Manager Tito Obaisi told me that perfectly edible food goes to waste because it looks imperfect, is too abundant, or is at the wrong place and the wrong time. (CEO and Co-Founder Evan Lutz says it’s ugly.) All the food they distribute is safe. Tito added that Hungry Harvest helps farmers and suppliers by paying more for their surplus food than they could get otherwise. Even small local farms can find their food good homes through Hungry Harvest.
Where Can You Get Hungry Harvest Deliveries?
Hungry Harvest currently delivers in parts of Maryland, Washington DC, Virginia, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Delaware, Florida, and here in North Carolina’s Triangle. The Produce in a SNAP markets are in Baltimore and coming later this month to Frederick, Maryland.
What Does Hungry Harvest Cost? What Comes in a Box?
This week, Hungry Harvest provided most of my fruit and vegetables. Look at the bountiful box! All of this for $28.48. (Note: like everyone else in Raleigh who signed up early for the first delivery, I got $16 off this order, so I just paid $12.48. If you want to try it yourself but missed the first wave, we can both save $5 when you get your first delivery. Just sign up using this link or the code LINDAWATSON. )
This box is their full size. You can also get smaller or larger boxes with prices ranging from $15 to $50. Add extras such as a bag of limes, a loaf of bread, or “mystery herbs.” You can customize your boxes and note which items you never want to get. There is a small delivery fee for small orders.
Before this box arrived, I got a detailed list of what to expect, including why each item needed rescue. Here’s the scoop:
- The adorable two-serving avocados were too small for the grocery store. This size would sell at a premium with the right marketing. Wake up, Avocado Board!
- The bell peppers and navel oranges were said to have minor scarring on the outside. Most of them looked perfect to me.
- The Brussels sprouts had some brown outer leaves that were easy to peel away.
- The apples came from a lot with a few bad apples in it.
- The melon and sweet potatoes were not the right shape. Of the four I got, I would have bought two of them without hesitation at the market. Another one had a dent where it had grown up against a rock or root and the final one looked, um, happy to see me (see the picture at the top of this post).
- The delicata squash and green leaf lettuce were just plain-old surplus.
Does Hungry Harvest Offer Organic Food?
Yes, but not in Raleigh yet. The two delicata squash were organic, but none of the rest was labeled organic. They do deliver all-organic boxes in some areas. Triangle Market Manager Bart Creasman says they will offer organic boxes here when enough people ask for it, so ask away.
How Do You Use It?
Except for a little extra peeling for the Brussels sprouts, the Hungry Harvest produce cooked up just like what I would have gotten from a farmers’ market. Here’s the lunch I had today using Hungry Harvest produce. This is from a box delivered last Saturday, a full seven days ago. Even the lettuce was still crisp! The Cuban Black Beans include bell peppers from Hungry Harvest. The avocados obligingly ripened at the rate of one per day. All that luxurious avocado comes from just half a small fruit.
Conclusion: Sign Up for Hungry Harvest if You Can
I’m looking forward to getting my second box from Hungry Harvest tomorrow. After that, I will pause my subscription until they offer an organic option here in Raleigh. I’d be most interested in this service during cold weather, when I’m not able to buy all the produce I use at farmers’ markets.
If you are a flexible cook who likes variety and wants to save money, reduce hunger, and cut down on food waste, then give Hungry Harvest a try. Save time too by having fruit and vegetables delivered directly to your door.
To save $5 on your first order, sign up using this link or the code LINDAWATSON. If you do give it a try, please let me know how it goes in the comments.
I hope Hungry Harvest continues to grow and succeeds wildly in its mission to eliminate food waste and end hunger.