Imperfect Foods launched in 2015 with the goal of getting imperfect, misshapen, and under- or over-sized produce onto people's plates—at about 30 percent cheaper than grocery store prices. Since then, the company has grown in size, delivering in regions across the country, and partnering with more than 200 farms from small co-ops to big corporate endeavors. And good news for those who want to support local farms: According to Imperfect Foods' website, 78 percent of its produce is sourced from family farms or cooperatives.
Although the service isn't available in all areas just yet, the San Francisco-based company delivers to the West Coast and parts of the Midwest, South, and Northeast. Enter your zip code on the website to find out if the service delivers to you.
The company's subscription service involves a weekly or biweekly delivery. Your delivery day depends on your zip code, and select locations have a $30 order minimum requirement. You can change, pause, or cancel at any time.
Once you sign up, you'll have the choice between certified organic or conventionally grown produce. Each week the company fills the box with 11 to 13 pounds of available produce, and you’ll have a few days before it ships to customize it as you see fit. There’s no limit to the changes you can make.
You can also add other grocery items like responsibly sourced meat, seafood, dairy, snacks, and grains. You can even subscribe to those items to ensure you get several servings of them each week. Not all of the produce items are imperfect, but some might be too close to their expiration date for a supermarket to take; be aware that you may have to eat these fruits and veggies soon after receiving them.
A regular 11- to 13-pound box of conventional produce is around $16, and delivery costs range from $5-$6.
Farmbox Direct makes it easy to order produce to your door and feel good about it. Launched in 2014 by Ashley Tyrner, a single mom working in New York City’s fashion industry who wanted an easier way to get fresh produce, the company now delivers across the country. As a sustainable investment, it donates a pound of food to a New York City food bank for every two boxes sold.
Choose between small, medium, and large boxes, with a mix of seasonal fruit and vegetables, or all fruit or all vegetables. The box sizes are based on how many meals you can make with the produce: a small box makes three to four meals, a medium box makes four to five meals, and a large box makes five or more meals. The small box costs around $44, the medium box is about $49, and the large box costs roughly $54. You can also try out the offerings with an entry-level box for $33. Shipping is free on all orders.
Click the menu button for each option to see what, and how much, is in the box. You can pay a little more for the only-organic box or opt for the cheaper, conventionally grown option. The only-organic boxes cost about $48 for a small, $58 for a medium, and $69 for a large.
The company also sells boxes of green, orange, or red produce for juicing. Each of these costs around $58 and contains enough ingredients for several cups of juice.
You can customize a box each week with up to five substitutions, either via the website or the mobile app. The produce comes with recipe cards to spark your creativity in the kitchen.
The company is also a zero-waste business. Boxes are made with eco-friendly, biodegradable, and easy-to-recycle packaging.
The Chef’s Garden isn’t just another Ohio farm—it’s a legendary producer of ingredients for some of the most acclaimed chefs around the world, including Joël Robuchon, Grant Achatz, and Eric Ripert. The farm is the source of the baby vegetables and microgreens that adorn their Michelin-starred plates. It’s also home to the Culinary Vegetable Institute, where these same top chefs can go to experiment with all that produce in every stage of its life, right where it’s grown.
The Chef’s Garden has always had a steady business overnighting its pristine, sustainably grown produce to top restaurants around the world, but it recently began offering delivery boxes to home cooks around the country. It also offers a series of Provision Packs with meat and vegetables specially selected by its famed patrons like Daniel Boulud.
In terms of straight produce, there are seven boxes to choose from, depending on whether you want a collection of vegetables aimed at “immunity-boosting” or “detoxifying,” or simply the best, freshest produce of the season. You can also add other items from the farm, such as edible flowers and honeycomb, to your box.
Although the boxes shift weekly, each shipment is likely to contain a mix of fresh greens like spinach and kale, lettuce, squash, beets, asparagus, and microgreens like mustard, sage, sorrel, and basil. Veggies range in size from micro, baby, or full-grown.
Boxes contain enough greens and produce for one to two people per week, and usually start around $59. Shipping is included in the price.
The FruitGuys started in 1998 as a way to stock San Francisco-area offices with healthy fruit for snacking. Now it’s a Certified B Corporation and a major player in the produce delivery business, with 15 hubs around the country.
The produce you get depends on where you live, because most of it comes from small, sustainable family farms located near the regional hubs. This means you'll be getting the freshest, most local produce possible. The selection changes with the seasons.
Either way, customers can choose between several different boxes—all fruit or all vegetables, a mix, conventionally grown or organic, snacking staples like apples and pears, or a more varied assortment.
The FruitGuys offers a subscription service for produce boxes that features weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly options, but customers can place a one-time order as well. The boxes range from a Harvest Mix box with non-GMO produce like apples, bananas, pears, and plums to a Staples Mix with locally grown apples, citrus, and bananas. Prices are around $30 for a small box (16 servings) and about $70 for a large box (up to 50 servings).
There is also a fresh fruit and veggie box that can include staples like asparagus, avocados, potatoes, and cucumbers. These boxes cost around $40 for a medium box and roughly $60 for a large. Shipping is usually a flat $5 if you live in the vicinity of a hub, although it may be more if you live farther away.
You’ve probably seen the Melissa’s Produce logo at the supermarket, usually on super-fresh ingredients like turmeric root or finger limes. That’s because Melissa’s Produce excels at sourcing specialty items for stores and restaurants all across the country.
The Southern California-based company has been around for decades, branching out from supplying unusual and rare ingredients to include a full range of organic produce and staples.
The company offers the Organic Family Box filled with 17 pounds of seasonal organic produce for $57. The box includes greens like kale, chard, and lettuce, along with vegetables like zucchini, broccoli, beets, and celery, and fresh fruits like apples, lemons, and pears.
Delivery requires two-day FedEx shipping for about $47, depending on where you live, although there is no shipping charge to Southern California addresses between Santa Barbara and San Diego. This isn't technically a subscription-based service, so you'll have to purchase the box again when you want another shipment.
Melissa’s ships nationwide and is a great resource for a wide variety of in-season produce and hard-to-find specialty items like Okinawa sweet potatoes, starfruit, and baby vegetables.
There are also gift baskets for fruit, wines, and combinations of both, and snacks like banana and cacao mix, crunchy quinoa, and cranberry-peanut crunch.
What Is a Produce Delivery Service?
A produce delivery service delivers food similar to a grocery delivery, but often specializes in specialty items, organic produce, budget pricing, bulk purchasing, or other features.
Can Items in a Produce Delivery Service Order Be Returned or Refunded?
While you cannot return unsatisfactory produce, you can contact the company for a refund if an item you ordered is not as expected. For example, Imperfect Foods states that within 48 hours of your delivery you can contact them to request a full or partial refund if not satisfied with the order.
Can I Change the Frequency of a Produce Delivery Service Order?
Yes, most companies offer the option of scheduling the frequency, or you can change it at any time.
How Much Does a Produce Delivery Service Cost?
Prices vary depending on several factors, including whether or not the produce is organic and how much produce you want to be delivered. Some companies do not charge per pound, but by the size of the box. For example,The FruitGuys produce boxes range from $30 for a small box that contains 16 servings, up to $70 for a large box with up to 50 servings. For $59 per week, The Chef’s Garden will ship enough greens and produce to feed one to two people.
How We Chose the Best Produce Delivery Services
We looked for services that offered something more than regular grocery delivery—whether that’s bulk produce for juicing, hard-to-find specialty items, a selection from small farms, or low prices. We wanted to represent a variety of different styles of food and eating, from fine dining with the highest-quality and rarest foods, to produce you'd need for making juices and smoothies so that there would be options for everyone.
We also wanted to find services that provide the best produce for reasonable or just downright cheap prices, so each service had to be affordable while still offering you the best, freshest ingredients. These companies all offer ingredients that are organic, fresh, and delicious, with options that are sensitive to dietary restrictions.
All of the services had to offer nationwide or almost nationwide delivery, with reduced or free shipping available depending on your location, in order to reduce costs. We also looked for companies whose shipping was quick, in order to keep produce fresh.