I tried Hungry Harvest, a waste-fighting produce delivery service available in Charlotte

I tried Hungry Harvest, a waste-fighting produce delivery service available in Charlotte
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This story was created in partnership with Hungry Harvest.

I used to buy the same produce every week, no matter the season.

Every Sunday, you could find me at the grocery store holding a basket with exactly one head of broccoli, a couple of avocados, a bag of baby carrots and a frozen fruit medley. Even though I love to cook and I eat most of my meals at home, I had gotten stuck in a routine.

Enter Hungry Harvest, a waste-fighting food delivery service that makes it easy to:

  • Eat better
  • Help the planet
  • Give back to the community

(If you’re still in the market for some New Year’s resolutions, you’re welcome.)

Hungry Harvest works with producers up and down the East Coast to deliver boxes of produce and other perishables, that would otherwise go to waste, right to your doorstep. Like many great ideas, the company got its start in a college student’s basement.

“I first learned about the food system and the inefficiencies with it when I was a senior in college at the University of Maryland,” explains Evan Lutz, founder and CEO of Hungry Harvest. “We started from the ground up.”

“About 40% of everything we grow in the United States actually goes to waste. A lot of that is before it ever reaches the retail store and the consumer, and this produce is perfectly good and deserves to get distributed,” says Lutz.

The solution: Lutz started selling boxes of produce ($5 for 5 pounds) that he recovered from a local farmer. It quickly caught on, and soon they had 500 customers a week showing up outside Lutz’s dorm for a box.

Fast forward nearly seven years and you can now get a harvest of recovered produce shipped to your door.

I gave Hungry Harvest a try. Here are my takeaways:

  • It’s affordable. For just $15, you can get a “mini harvest” that will probably be plenty of produce for one (or even two) people.
  • It could almost replace your grocery shopping. Thanks to the à la carte marketplace, you can get pantry staples like bread, eggs and canned goods along with specialty items like coffee and snacks. Offerings vary every week, though, so a grocery run could help fill in the gaps.
  • It’s easy. Placing your order is just like any other online shopping experience – add your harvest and any à la carte items to your cart, and checkout.
  • The delivery service was great. Thanks to a malfunctioning building call box, my delivery person had to wait outside on a not-so-nice day in order to make sure my harvest got to me safe and sound. Props.

Picky eaters: you can add things to your “never” list, meaning you’ll never get it in your harvest. You can also specify things that you love. I was worried about getting exotic produce that I would have no idea how to prepare, but my box came filled with things I already like to eat. Here’s what was included in my harvest:

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Avocados
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Butternut squash
  • Baby heirloom tomatoes
  • Lettuce

Additional items: I also ordered a “mystery herb” bundle and a can of cold brew from the marketplace.

How-to: My harvest also came with a “Produce Storage Guide & Harvest Tips.” Online, you can browse Harvest Tips for recipes using that week’s produce.

I ordered a mini harvest and a full harvest so that I could compare the difference. Here’s a side by side.

Details: The mini harvest (left) costs $15 and would have been plenty of produce for one person. The full harvest (right) costs $25. You can pay extra to get an organic version of each size. You can also choose to get a harvest delivered every week or every other week.

The mission: In addition to fighting food waste, Hungry Harvest is focused on giving back. “For every box we deliver, we help fight food insecurity through a few different programs, like subsidized boxes, donations, and low-cost farmers markets,” says Lutz.

Want to give Hungry Harvest a try, too? Sign up here.

This story was created in partnership with Hungry Harvest.

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