This post has been sponsored by Imperfect Produce. All opinions here, however, are my own.
You guys! I’m so excited to have the chance to review Imperfect Produce for you this week — I’ve been intrigued by their business model, and (probably like many of you…) curious about just how “imperfect” their produce is. Talk about “real food meets real life” — Imperfect delivers farm-fresh produce straight to your door.
Read on for the full Imperfect Produce review, how it works, my tips and caveats on the service, and a bonus homemade kale chips recipe — but if you just can’t wait, sign on up and use Imperfect Produce coupon code mashup for 50% off your first box.
My Imperfect Produce Review
What is Imperfect Produce?
Imperfect Produce is a produce delivery company that sources “ugly” produce straight from farms. Their mission is to prevent perfectly good produce with cosmetic defects from going to waste because it doesn’t meet grocery store standards, then delivering that produce to your door for 30-50% less than grocery store prices.
How does Imperfect Produce work?
Imperfect offers a variety of produce boxes to fit your your needs. Choose conventional or organic, all veggies or mixed fruit and veggies, and the size of box you’d prefer.
As you go through to customize your box, they’ll let you know what each item’s “imperfection” is, and where each type of produce originates. Defects can range from an item’s size, to its shape, to outside blemishes, to discoloration, to simply a surplus of a given produce item.
How much does Imperfect Produce cost?
The price of your box will vary depending on the size of the box and the specific types of produce you choose to include each week. Here I initially chose a “medium” box, but ended up adding more produce to it and changing out some conventional for organic while customizing my delivery. (More on customization, below.) Note that there is also a $4.99 flat delivery fee per box.
You can choose how often you’d like to receive produce from Imperfect — weekly, biweekly, monthly — and can skip a delivery at any time. (Use Imperfect Produce coupon code mashup for 50% off your first box!)
How Imperfect is this produce, anyway?
Most of the produce I received in this first Imperfect Produce box was actually fairly perfect! A couple of the apples and the broccoli had a few little spots, but nothing unlike what I’d see at my local produce market; the potatoes ran small, but who cares; the pears were hard, but pears are always hard and that’s nothing a little counter time in a paper bag didn’t fix.
The organic rainbow carrots, curly green kale, onions, organic purple garlic, organic ginger, eggplant, organic leaf lettuce, and red cabbage? All pretty darn perfect! And, everything we’ve tasted so far has been great.
Out of this entire box, the only items I wouldn’t have picked up for myself in the store were the avocados small and unripe) and one of the organic lemons (browned and a little squishy on the bottom). They’re usable, but… dare I say… imperfect.
Update: You know what’s interesting? Although I wouldn’t have picked these avocados, after they ripened up on my counter they were some of the best I’ve ever had — despite their smallness. 🙂
How fresh is this produce?
Well, my box was fresh enough that it actually sported a bee inside… Insects aside, though, everything in my box was fresh and lovely; I have no complaints about taste or quality.
Is Imperfect Produce worth it?
You’re paying a bit for convenience here with that $4.99 delivery fee, but I was actually pleasantly surprised with the amount, quality, and variety of produce I received. I generally spend $30+ a week on produce anyway between a couple of different stores, and the convenience of it coming right to my door couldn’t be beat. Everything here was fresh, many items were fairly local, and some of the produce in my box was organic.
My box here ended up at $24.23 — plus that $4.99 delivery fee, for a bit over $29 delivered. Could I have found the same items slightly cheaper? Possibly, but not without going to multiple stores (including my local produce market where the apples etc. would have been equally imperfect) — so weigh the savings in your time and gas money against the ease and convenience here.
And, if (unlike me) you generally one-stop-shop at a large national grocery chain rather than bopping around between smaller stores to save on produce, Imperfect will likely be cheaper for you.
What should you be aware of?
If you’re looking into Imperfect Produce for yourself, here are just a few things to be aware of.
All the produce comes loose in one box
The only wrapped item in my box was organic ginger (which I appreciated!); the above photo shows exactly how the box looked when I opened it. While Imperfect Produce did include a handy produce storage guide, they suggested that several items (such as the kale and leaf lettuce) be refrigerated in plastic bags — which left me scrambling around the house trying to scrounge up bags for storage. I love that there’s very little waste here, but something to be aware of.
The delivery window is long
My delivery window here was 3:00-10:00 PM, and the box was delivered sometime when I was out of the house in the evening. This worked out fine, but you might end up with some wilted produce if your box sits out for hours on a hot day, or frozen produce in the winter.
Note that they do text you when your box is on the way, and again when it’s delivered, so if someone is home you can be sure to bring it inside right away.
You have just two days to customize your box Update — This has now changed!
My Imperfect delivery day is Wednesday, and Imperfect Produce emailed me the Thursday before with a reminder to customize my box.
You’ll want to do this sooner rather than later, because they may run out of certain items before the customization window ends. Customization is super easy, and Imperfect keeps a running total for you so you can gauge the total cost of your box as you get carried away adding and changing out items. (Or, maybe that’s just me. 😉 )
Item availability will vary by week
This is a plus if you are looking for seasonal produce, but realize that you’ll need to cook around what’s available, rather than choosing recipes in advance and going out to buy produce that fits those recipes.
An Imperfect Produce Coupon Code for you
Want to give Imperfect Produce a try for yourself after reading my Imperfect Produce review? Sign up here and use Imperfect Produce coupon code mashup for 50% off your first box! You can stop delivery or skip weeks at any time, so take time to settle into the schedule and box size that works for your family. (If they’re not yet available in your area, you can sign up to be notified when they are!)
And, if you want some tips on how to use some of the fresh produce you’ll be receiving, here’s a head start with my best…
Five Tips for Perfect Kale Chips
Have you guys seen the price of pre-made kale chips in stores? It’s crazy, I tell you — especially when it’s so easy to make your own kale chips at home and customize the seasonings to your own taste. IMSA Guy and I are big kale chip fans, so after much experimentation over the years, here are my top five tips for perfect kale chips:
- Dry your kale as much as possible. Moisture is the enemy of crispness, here.
- Cook your kale chips at a lower temperature. I’ve settled on 275 degrees as just about right.
- Spread kale out in a single layer. It’s tempting to throw it all onto one pan, but spreading one bunch of kale across two pans ensures more even crispness.
- Use dark baking pans without parchment paper. This helps ensure crispness.
- Let your kale chips sit for a few minutes to crisp up even further. As tempting as these are hot out of the oven, they’ll crisp up more nicely if you wait about 3 minutes before serving.
And, here’s an easy homemade kale chips recipe for you!
Easy Homemade Kale Chips
One bunch curly green kale
1 Tbsp olive oil
Sea salt, to taste
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (omit if sensitive to heat)
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
Preheat oven to 275 degrees and wash the kale.
Strip the kale leaves off the tough stems, tear leaves into chip-sized-pieces, and discard stems. Dry the kale leaves and spread them out across two rimmed sheet pans.
Drizzle olive oil evenly onto the kale and season with sea salt, crushed red pepper, and smoked paprika (using half of the oil and seasonings per pan). Toss to coat, massaging oil and spices into the kale with your hands.
Spread the seasoned kale out in a single layer, then bake for 22-25 minutes at 275 degrees. Rotate pans between oven racks halfway through the baking time.
Remove kale chips from the oven and let sit for about three minutes before serving.
Store any uneaten kale chips for up to three days, at room temperature in a tightly covered container.
Note: You can change up the seasonings to your own liking, but I was going for a smoky-spicy thing here today. Check for doneness at 22 minutes, and note that pans and ovens can heat unevenly — one of my pans was done a few minutes earlier than the other today, for no apparent reason.
Easy Homemade Kale Chips, printable recipe
Here's an easy homemade kale chips recipe for you, plus my top five tips for perfect kale chips.
- Preheat oven to 275 degrees and wash the kale.
- Strip the kale leaves off the tough stems, tear leaves into chip-sized-pieces, and discard stems. Dry the kale leaves and spread them out across two rimmed sheet pans.
- Drizzle olive oil evenly onto the kale and season with sea salt, crushed red pepper, and smoked paprika (using half of the oil and seasonings per pan). Toss to coat, massaging oil and spices into the kale with your hands.
- Spread the seasoned kale out in a single layer, then bake for 22-25 minutes at 275 degrees. Rotate pans between oven racks halfway through the baking time.
- Remove kale chips from the oven and let sit for about three minutes before serving.
- Store any uneaten kale chips for up to three days, at room temperature in a tightly covered container.
You can change up the seasonings to your own liking, but I was going for a smoky-spicy thing here today. Check for doneness at 22 minutes, and note that pans and ovens can heat unevenly -- one of my pans was done a few minutes earlier than the other today, for no apparent reason.
So, who’s giving Imperfect Produce a try?
Such a great way to incorporate more fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet, and I love the idea of real food straight to your door. What do you guys think of this concept, now that you’ve read this whole Imperfect Produce review?
And, be sure to use Imperfect Produce coupon code mashup for 50% off your first box!