Food Chain : CSA vs Imperfect Foods

As I mentioned in previous posts, the more conscious I am of my choices, the more I struggle with making the “right” call.

I am currently looking into switching my source of produce. I consider myself moderately healthy (greens at every meal, small portions of meat…with the occasional binge of pizza or french fries). I tend to visit Sprouts for the convenience and it’s advertising schtick of being like a farmer’s market. While I am blessed to live in Orange County where farmer’s markets are aplenty, I struggle to find time to go as the schedule is really inconvenient for me. So I’ve narrowed down my options to two contenders:

CSA Boxes or Imperfect Foods.

I love that CSA boxes come from the local farm. Tanaka farms in Irvine is such a gem. Family owned, amazing strawberries, and a really awesome CSA program. A friend of mine gifted me her box one week and I was pleasantly surprised with the selection and quality. As a logistics professional I definitely understand the “carbon savings” achieved by buying local. Less trucks, less gas, less mileage. The other benefit is that by buying CSA boxes, you’re also buying in season. Produce that’s grown in season tends to use less resources and is really a nod to our origins. My only complaint is that they do use plastic packaging. If i could bring my own produce bags the CSA box would be an immediate win!

Imperfect Foods : My impression of imperfect foods is that it’s selling produce that would otherwise be trashed. Not only is throwing food away a tremendous waste of the energy that went into growing the produce (water, energy, etc), it’s also contributing to the amount of methane produced at landfills. High methane levels are one of the things responsible for climate change. Imperfect food is thoughtful about their plastic packaging. They use it mostly for items that require it (green beans, peppers, etc). I listened to a podcast that featured the Director of Sustainability from Imperfect Foods and I love how their other grocery products make use of waste from the manufacturing process. Chocolate covered broken pretzels? Sign me up!

So really I’m struggling between trying to buy local/seasonal or diverting trash. Does any one else have ways to weigh in?

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