[Review] Hungry Harvest: ugly food, beautiful heart

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Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

We are not the type of family who can do a CSA (community supported agriculture). First of all, I eat the lions share of vegetables in our house and a CSA box is more than I can handle alone. I hate the idea of wasting food, so the CSA makes me feel pressured into eating everything on my own. Second, we are not creative enough chefs to spontaneously incorporate some of the more unusual foods that come in a CSA, like rhubarb or Hakurei turnips. I don’t want to have to Google my produce. However, I love the idea of supporting local farms, so when I heard about a company called Hungry Harvest, who delivers recovered produce to reduce food waste and fight hunger, I was excited to learn more.

My first question was: what is recovered produce? I imagined browning apples or squishy avocados. I learned though that “1 in 5 fruits and veggies go to waste because of aesthetic imperfections or logistical inefficiencies.” This isn’t rotting food, it’s food that wasn’t otherwise sellable for a variety of reasons that do not affect taste. Sometimes farms overproduce certain crops and can’t sell it off quickly enough. Hungry Harvest seeks to gather these edible items that would otherwise end up wasted.

My next concern was whether or not the produce would be things that my picky children would actually eat. Their produce diet consists primarily (almost exclusively) of apples, watermelon, broccoli, carrots, and pomegranate. I learned that Hungry Harvest allows you to create a “never list” of foods that you never want them to include in your delivery. My never list included mushrooms, eggplant, and artichoke.

My concerns were answered when I received my first Hungry Harvest delivery. Posted on the website is “this week’s harvest” so you don’t have to be surprised. There are also recipes there for the non-chefs among us. Here was what was in my mini harvest: 2 avocados, 0.5 lb Brussels Sprouts, 2 bi colored corn, 2 Valencia oranges, 1 lb strawberries, 0.5 lb guava, 2 organic yellow squash, and 1 bunch kale. I don’t love surprises, so I was happy to see what to expect and it allowed me to plan better while I was grocery shopping for the week. In terms of quality, there were a few blemishes but overall they looked just like things I would have bought on my own and tasted the same as well. I’m looking forward to making a kale and avocado salad first.

Interested in getting your own Harvest? The options include 3 sizes (mini, full, and super), with an option for organic produce. You can get veggie-only, fruit-only, or mixed produce bundles. There is also a cool “office harvest” option with snackable fruit that is great for break rooms or office kitchens and so much better than a vending machine! There are also add-ons that vary each week, like an avocado toast kit, eggs, or jam. The prices in general range from $15-$55, but Mommy Call readers can get a special discount (see below).

One of the coolest things about Hungry Harvest though is that they are committed to reducing food deserts and fighting hunger. That sounds great, but how do they do that? For every harvest they deliver, they donate 1-2 pounds of produce to help feed someone in need. In Maryland, they have partnered with Baltimore Public Schools to help food insecure families. You can also use your SNAP/EBT (formerly food stamps) to buy food from Hungry Harvest. In Philadelphia, they are donating produce to Philabundance.

Thanks to a deal on Shark Tank, they expanded to Philadelphia in the past year. They also deliver in areas across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, and D.C. You can search online to see if they deliver specifically in your zip code. I conveniently got a text when my delivery was about to arrive.

Pretty impressive for a company that started in a college dorm!

Coupon Code: Mommy Call readers get 25% off their first harvest with code: CALL

[This is a promotional post. I received a free mini harvest for this review. All opinions are my own. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of my employer, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. I am not responsible for the content or quality of your Hungry Harvest purchase.]

Learn more about food insecurity with my podcast: https://soundcloud.com/childrensphila/primary-care-perspectives-episode-4-food-insecurity

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