What's In Store

A company that delivers ugly produce is coming to Charlotte

Misfits Market specializes in delivering produce that's misshapen, bruised or is otherwise viewed as unfit for traditional grocery stores.
Misfits Market specializes in delivering produce that's misshapen, bruised or is otherwise viewed as unfit for traditional grocery stores.

Misfits Market, a subscription service delivering misshapen, bruised and otherwise unloved produce, is coming to Charlotte this month as a part of its East Coast expansion that includes every ZIP code in the Carolinas.

Misfits Market collects and delivers produce unwanted by grocery store chains, thanks to its not-quite-perfect appearance, but that is still good to eat (think: root veggies with twists, apples that are too small, or other produce that was grown in excess).

An answer to food deserts

The company hopes to bring fresh produce to areas that have been otherwise neglected in the food-delivery world. “We noticed produce was getting delivered to these dense urban neighborhoods, and oftentimes the people who need access to produce the most don’t live in those areas,” said Abhi Ramesh, Misfits Market’s founder and CEO.

Food deserts continue to be an unresolved issue in Charlotte, where grocery chains open storefronts frequently in high-income areas but access to groceries in low-income neighborhoods remain scarce.

Ramesh said he was inspired to start the company while at an apple orchard in Pennsylvania and saw the farmer collecting “ugly” apples to toss away. “I was shocked by that. At least 2,000 apples were being tossed that I knew people who lived in food deserts in Philadelphia would want,” he said.

The company’s mission is focused on alleviating the environmental impact of food waste, Ramesh said. “Our food system takes up a ton of natural resources and today, that system is very leaky. So we’re tackling the environmental problem as well as feeding people who otherwise wouldn’t be fed.”

Touted as more affordable

While there are several other local produce delivery companies in the Charlotte area, Misfits Market’s boxes are advertised as among the most affordable options. Ramesh said the produce is more affordable than every major grocery store. (The Merry, $19 plus $4.50 in shipping, is good for one or two people for a week, and is meant for side dishes and snacking. The Mighty, $34 plus $4.50 shipping, is the larger box, intended for families, households that cook daily and parties.)

The seasonal boxes contain solid variety: summer produce boxes include apples, bananas, beets, berries, celery, lima beans, peaches and summer squash. For fall, expect produce such as broccoli, bananas, cabbage, collards, ginger, kale, mushrooms, kiwi, pumpkins and yams.

This article originally appeared at charlottefive.com.

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