The number one question in my inbox on Instagram lately is “WHERE CAN I FIND A PRODUCE RESCUE NEAR ME??” I’ll admit, I’ve been over-gramming about all of our delicious goods from a produce rescue organization we found in Arizona where you can buy 70 pounds of produce for only $12.00! Every time I’ve been, it has included organic produce, and you can find out in advance what produce is available each week to decide whether you want it or not. The produce rescue is at a different location every Saturday morning from 7am-10am throughout the Phoenix and Tuscon areas. All you do is show up, get a free membership card if you don’t have one, pay your $12, and load up your car with the goods. THAT’S IT. There are no income or other qualifications– any person can take advantage of this amazing program. My produce usually lasts about two weeks, and I have to give a lot away before we even get through it. It’s saved us hundreds of dollars on our grocery bill and I base all of our meals around whatever produce we got from the rescue. I can’t say enough good things about it. It’s AMAZING and you definitely should be seeking out produce rescue near you.
How produce rescue organizations work:
Many produce rescue organizations receive their produce from donors– they can be farmers, wholesalers, grocery stores, etc, for produce that is in excess, ugly (ex: I once got green peppers that had orange speckles on them. Tasted amazing, but grocery stores want green peppers to be green) or otherwise unmarketable for whatever reason. If not for produce rescue programs, this produce would literally just go to waste. Many produce rescue organizations donate produce to local food banks or to organizations that target low income people and families, however, there are still a few that don’t have any income guidelines, like the one I frequent in Arizona. For this list I tried to find companies or organizations that were available to everyone.
Alaska/Nova Scotia: Found – helps people donate any excess produce you might have and hooks you up with organizations where you can get produce.
Arizona: Borderlands Produce Rescue. This is the organization that I personally frequent. It is available every Saturday at different locations throughout the Phoenix and Tuscon areas. Basically, you just show up at one of their locations, grab a free membership card, and pay $12.00 to receive 70 pounds of produce. If you follow them on Instagram or sign up to get their newsletter, you’ll find out what locations and what kinds of produce are available each week.
California: Imperfect Produce. This is a company that sources produce that would go to waste and delivers it right to your door. You can select what kind of produce you want delivered each week and you can expect to save about 30% on your groceries doing this! Imperfect Produce boasts selling “ugly” unmarketable produce, which is how they’re able to get it to you for so cheap. You can also get Imperfect Produce in Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts. Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington.
Colorado: Denver Food Rescue You can get free access to produce that would have gone to waste at several locations throughout the Denver area, no income, proof of address, any kind of documentation required.
New York: Bad Apple – New Yorkers can get produce for about 50% of what it costs at your local market/grocery store by shopping through Bad Apple AND get it delivered straight to your door (which is a huge perk living in the city/not having to haul groceries up several flights of stairs).
North Carolina: Hungry Harvest – Like Imperfect Produce, Hungry Harvest rescues unmarketable produce and surplus produce from farms, packing houses, and whole salers and then delivers that rescued produce right to you. You can have Hungry Harvest delivered in Maryland, Washington, DC, Virginia, Greater Philadelphia, Southern New Jersey, Northern Delaware, South Florida, The Triangle Area & the Detroit Metro Area.
Utah: Bountiful Baskets – Bountiful baskets is a food co-op where you can get huge discounts on produce each week.
If there is not a produce rescue near you, don’t fret! First of all, I think produce rescue organizations will continue to grow over the next few years and if you don’t have one now, you might just get one soon. Second, there are lots of other great options. I have saved a lot of money by growing my own garden [How to Make Your Garden Worth it Financially], shopping at Aldi or Lidl, buying frozen fruits and vegetables at Costco [Things You SHOULD Buy at Costco], and shopping sales at Sprouts and my local grocery store. Pay close attention to your grocery stores weekly ads– I’ve been pleasantly surprised over the years how much I’ve saved by simply only buying produce that is on sale. And participating in produce/food co-ops, like Bountiful Baskets listed above. Food co-ops are really common in most states, so if there’s not a produce rescue, be sure to seek out a food co-op.
Is there a “produce rescue near me” that I missed? Drop a comment below and we’ll add it to the list!
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