This post was sponsored by Ungraded Produce. Raleigh Moms Blog only partners with sponsors who we feel bring the most value to our readers.
Ugly Produce. It’s a term you may have heard recently, in conversations surrounding food waste and food insecurity. While ugly produce may not be “pretty” due to an atypical shape, size, color, or minor scarring, it is just as fresh, nutritious and delicious as its perfect counterparts. It doesn’t make it to the market based simply due to its appearance (pretty shallow, right?) and is either left in the fields or sent to landfills to rot. Why not donate it? Even if harvested, there is no easy, cost-effective way for suppliers and food banks to facilitate the donation.
Enter, North Carolina’s own Ungraded Produce. A produce subscription box, Ungraded Produce is the brainchild of CEO and Founder Courtney Bell, who developed the concept while an undergrad student at Duke University in 2017. Witnessing the extent of food insecurity and existence of food deserts in our area, Courtney was inspired to find a way to make fresh food more accessible throughout the Triangle. Ungraded Produce is truly a social enterprise. In the past 15 months, they have donated over 46,300 lbs of produce to local food pantries such as The Food Bank of Central & Eastern NC and they also partner with other organizations such as Durham’s Urban Community Agronomics to facilitate donations to other food pantries. In addition, they have rescued over 116,000 pounds of ugly/excess produce from going to waste.
I recently tried out their Large Mixed Produce Box, which is the most popular option. It contains 15 lbs of fruits and vegetables – enough produce for 3-4 people for a week – and includes 5-7 varieties of vegetables and 3-5 varieties of fruits. (If you’re a solo parent or a smaller family, you may find the large box to be a bit much. Sharing is caring, so I shared the produce wealth with a friend whose preteens enjoy cooking family dinner a few times a week.)
RMB readers can experience their own Ungraded Produce box using the promo code RALEIGHMOMS for $5 off the first box.
Shortly before my delivery, I received a text message with geotracking of my delivery person’s exact location. This is super convenient if you’re wrangling children, have to put away pets, live in an apartment complex, etc.
I was inspired as soon as I opened the box! Apples, pear, watermelon, plums, tomatoes, beets, green beans, peppers, and cauliflower – I saw nothing wrong with any of it. I had the makings for several of my preschooler’s favorites – stewed apples and pears, panko-crusted crispy baked cauliflower, fresh pasta sauce, green beans sautéed in garlic and olive oil, and more!
On the evening that the box was delivered, my little one and I went to work on the cauliflower. Want to get your kids to eat more veggies? Slice them, have your little ones help you dip them in egg/flour/panko, and bake them on high heat until crispy. I’ve done this with zucchini and cauliflower and my little one loves to dip them in ketchup, ranch, or tzatziki.
Being a Raleigh mama it’s so important to support local and eat local. Watch and learn more about how Ungraded Produce is changing the way we feed our families and support our community. Don’t forget to check out our exclusive promo code below, too!